This recipe snowballed from a game of “what’s in the fridge”. I had leftover egg yolks that would be perfect for lemon curd, and a package of puff pastry that I had overlooked way too many times.
This is essentially an individual lemon meringue pie, and who doesn’t love an individual-sized anything? I went whole-hog on this one and made them in regular sized muffin tins, but you can certainly make a 2-bite version in a mini muffin tin.
As always, follow along for detailed instructions, or skip to the end for just the recipe.
FIRST: If you’re using frozen puff pastry, take it out of the freezer and allow it to warm up a bit. You want it cold to the touch, but warm enough to be pliable.
Start by making the lemon curd
- In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon. It important to stir constantly so the mixture cooks evenly and you don’t end up with lemon-flavoured scrambled eggs.
3. After about 5-8 minutes the mixture will thicken and you’ll know it’s done when it coats the back of your spoon, holding a clean line when you run your finger through it. (Bonus: you get to lick your finger afterward)
4. Remove your curd from the heat and add in your cold butter a few pieces at a time, allowing the residual heat to melt it.
5. Push the curd through a fine sieve to ensure an even texture, removing any large pieces of zest or bits of egg that might have scrambled.
Prepare the cups
6. Preheat your oven to 400ºF and get back to that reserved puff pastry. As mentioned, you want your puff pastry to be thawed but still cold to the touch. You’ll likely want to roll it out a little bit on a lightly floured surface to ensure it’s even and a little under ¼” thick.
7. Cut the pastry into squares that allow for a generous overhang of the muffin cup. Push the pastry into the cups and press into the sides, you’re likely going to be overlapping some pieces so just press it together to ensure even thickness all the way around the cup.
8. When your oven is ready, bake the cups until they’re just barely done, about 15 minutes. The cups will be a light brown on the edges but still slightly doughy in the centre, you’re going to be baking them for another 5 minutes with the meringue so this is perfect. Speaking of the meringue…
Prep the meringue
9. During the time the cups are baking, prepare the meringue. You’ll only need 2 egg whites for this, so you can use the extras to make meringue cookies, or pavlovas, (or an egg white omelette if you’re feeling healthy, I GUESS). Beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they’re foamy, and then start gradually incorporating the sugar.
10. Continue beating the egg whites until they form stiff glossy peaks that stand up on their own.
11. Once the cups come out of the oven they’re going to be super puffy, so take a spoon and gently indent the centres to allow room for the filling. Ensure you’re not puncturing the sides or the bottom.
12. Generously spoon the lemon curd into the pastry cups, filling them almost to the top.
13. Spoon a dollop of meringue onto the top of each cup, ensure the meringue completely covers the filling. With the back of your spoon, or your finger, create small peaks in the meringue by simply patting the meringue gently and lifting the utensil.
14. Pop the cups back in the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the meringue and the pastry are a gorgeous golden brown. But watch them carefully; meringue can go from golden to burnt very quickly.
Lemon Meringue Pie Puffs
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter cut into cubes
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1 package frozen puff pastry
- Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt in a saucepan, whisk until smooth
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 5-8 minutes
- Remove from heat, add butter a few pieces at a time until fully incorporated
- Push mixture through a fine sieve
Puff Pastry Cups
- Preheat oven to 400ºF
- Thaw dough until pliable but still cold to the touch
- Roll out on a lightly floured surface to just under a ¼” thickness
- Cut pastry into squares that allow for a generous overhang on the muffin cups
- Press the pastry into the muffin cups, ensuring even thickness all the way around
- Bake in the 400ºF oven until the cups are just barely done and are a light brown colour, about 15 minutes
- With a spoon, create a well in the baked cups to allow room for the lemon curd
- Beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until foamy
- Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the meringue is glossy, and forms stiff peaks
- Spoon a generous amount of the lemon curd into the pastry cups and top with a generous amount of meringue, ensuring it covers the filling entirely
- Create small peaks in the meringue with the back of the spoon or your finger
- Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until the pastry and the meringue are golden brown