Meyer Lemon Italian Meringue Pie

January 12, 2022marissamakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: One 9 inch tart

Meyer lemons are high on my list of favorite fruits, and Meyer lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts. I grew up with Meyer lemon trees at my parents house. Because we never had to buy lemons, I didn’t know that regular lemons were very different until I got a bit older. I still remember how shocked I was the first time I sliced into a super market lemon. I was expecting it to be like the ones I had grown up with, but it was very different!

If you’re not familiar with Meyer lemons, they have a very deep, bold yellow color and are extremely fragrant. They have a very thin rind and are much juicier than regular lemons. They’re also a bit sweeter and less acidic, making them wonderful to cook and bake with. They’re my favorite to use in every kitchen application! Lucky for me, they’re super common in California, and many people have Meyer lemon trees growing in their yards. While they aren’t easy to find at grocery stores, I can always find them at local farmers’ markets.

Whenever they’re in season, I always have to make the most of Meyer lemons. This pie is a classic, elevated by the wonderful flavor and intensity of Meyer lemons. With a light and tender pâte sucrée base, filled with perfectly balanced and bright Meyer lemon curd, and topped with piles of Italian meringue toasted to perfection, this dessert is sure to become a favorite. Though it takes a few steps, it’s easier to make than it looks, and is well worth the extra time!

What is pâte sucrée, and how do you make it?

Pâte sucrée, is a French style sweet tart dough. It’s similar to traditional shortcrust or pie doughs in that it has a high proportion of butter. It also contains egg. It has a slight cookie-like texture, and is a common base for fruit tarts. It’s a delicious base for tender tarts, and works particularly well, I find, for lemon tarts in general.

In this recipe, I adapted the pâte sucrée recipe from Shiran Dickman’s blog, Pretty. Simple. Sweet. In my version of her recipe, I call for vanilla paste, rather than the optional vanilla extract. I find that the vanilla flavor really complements the meringue, and I love the added speckles of the vanilla seeds. If you can’t find vanilla bean paste where you live, you can use an equal amount of vanilla extract, or use one scraped vanilla pod.

One of the things to note with the pâte sucrée dough is that it uses powdered sugar, rather than granulated. I find that powdered sugar in tart doughs gives it a bit more flexibility when rolled, and a more tender texture when baked.

Blind Baking

This is an almost-no-bake pie, meaning that only baked element is the crust. This is a method called “blind baking”, which means that the tart shell bakes with no filling inside. I recommend using pie weights or baking beans, if you have them. Dried beans or uncooked rice work just as well, if you don’t have any ceramic pie weights. Having some sort of weight inside the pie shell prevents it from puffing up too much while baking.

For this recipe, we are going to fully blind bake the crust, because the filling does not need to be baked at all. You can also use this method to partially blind bake tarts and pies to help prevent soggy bottoms when working with very wet fillings.

How to make the best Meyer lemon curd

I love making lemon curd. I think it’s an incredibly easy way to make something incredibly delicious. If you can’t find Meyer lemons where you live, you can of course make the curd with regular lemons. However, you may need to use a few more to get the required amount of juice. Meyer lemons have a slightly sweeter flavor, thinner, deeper colored rind, and very juicy fruit compared to regular lemons. If you can find them, please use them! I promise you’ll be hooked. They’re the best for baking and cooking alike!

Many lemon curd recipes call for the use of a double boiler, or tempering the eggs. I personally do not find either necessary. Lemon curd is very easy to make: everything goes into the pot at once, and it only takes about 10 minutes in total. Make sure you whisk your eggs well before you add them to the pot. To ensure even cooking, continue whisking the entire time the curd is over heat. To guarantee an extra silky smooth lemon curd, simply pass it through a mesh strainer before using.

In this Meyer lemon Italian meringue pie, I added a smidge of cornstarch to the curd to help it thicken. If you want to simply enjoy the lemon curd portion of this recipe and forgo the rest of the tart, you can omit the cornstarch. While the pie is delicious and you should definitely make it all… I can’t judge if you just eat the curd on its own. It’s that good!

Italian vs. Swiss vs. French meringue

This Meyer lemon meringue pie calls for Italian meringue. This is a very stable type of meringue that does not need to be baked. All meringue has the same fundamental ingredients: egg whites, and sugar. Italian meringue is great for non-baked applications, because it uses a hot sugar syrup drizzled into egg whites as they are whipped in a mixer. The heat from the syrup essentially cooks the egg whites, making them safer to consume without further baking. It also makes for a very stable meringue that doesn’t collapse as easily.

Swiss meringue is similar, but uses a method where the egg whites and sugar are heated together to a food-safe temperature before whipping. It is a bit denser than Italian meringue, and is a common type of meringue used in buttercream. And finally, French meringue is the simplest meringue to make, as it is just egg whites and sugar whipped together. It’s also the least stable, and is most commonly used for baked meringue cookies or pavlovas.

For extra stability, I’ve added a touch of cream of tartar to the meringue. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can also use lemon juice. The acidity helps to stabilize the whipped egg. If you like to make a lot of meringue desserts, I highly recommend adding cream of tartar to your pantry.

Tools for making this pie

I recommend using a food processor to make the pâte sucrée. You can also make it by hand, but just make sure that the butter is thoroughly cut into the flour and you do not over work the dough. I also strongly recommend a stand mixer or electric beaters for the meringue portion of this recipe.

The meringue portion calls for a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature while making the sugar syrup. Sugar is finicky, so it’s important that you use a thermometer during this step. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, an instant read meat thermometer or kitchen probe thermometer will work too.

This recipe calls for a 9″ loose bottomed tart tin. It could make 4-6 mini tarts instead, depending on the size of your tins. For the blind baking, you will need enough pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice to fill the tart tin to the top.

The finishing touches on this lemon meringue pie call for a kitchen torch. As always, when working with potentially dangerous kitchen tools, read all of the manufacturers’ instructions, and use caution and common sense. That said, most kitchen torches are very user friendly and easy to handle. If you don’t have a torch, or prefer not to use one, you can toast the meringue under the broiler in your oven. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye that it does not burn.

How to store this pie

This pie keeps very well in the fridge, covered carefully, for up to 3 days. The meringue keeps nicely, but you can re-toast it, if desired, before serving.

I hope you give this Meyer Lemon Italian Meringue Pie a try! Be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave me a comment below! Your feedback helps other bakers who are giving this recipe a try, and I love hearing about your bakes!

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Serves: One 9 inch tart

This pie makes the most of citrus season with the use of delicious meyer lemons. With a light and tender pâte sucrée base, filled with perfectly balanced and bright meyer lemon curd, and topped with piles of Italian meringue toasted to perfection, this dessert is sure to become a favorite. Though it takes a few steps, it's easier to make than it looks, and is well worth the extra time!


For the tart shell

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour , (120 g)
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, (one stick, 117g) cubed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt , (non-iodized, diamond crystal preferred)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste , (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

For the Meyer lemon curd

  • 3/4 cup meyer lemon juice, (180 g) about 2-3 lemons
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs, beaten well
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar, (150 g)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, (one stick, 117 g) cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with a few tablespoons of water to create a slurry

For the Italian meringue

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar, (200 g)
  • 1/2 cup water, (114 g)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, or juice from 1/2 of a lemon


Make the tart dough and blind bake

  • 1)

    In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt, and butter together until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this using a pastry cutter. Process until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

  • 2)

    Add the egg and vanilla bean paste and pulse until combined and a dough begins to form. Don’t over-mix the dough to the point where it is completely formed into a ball- the dough is ready when it sticks together without crumbling when pressed between your fingers.

  • 3)

    Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten into a disk. Wrap fully and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.

  • 4)

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    After the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into about an 11″ circle and then transfer it to a 9″ loose bottom tart tin by draping it over a rolling pin and placing the dough gently on top of the tart tin. Carefully press it into the tin and trim the excess. Freeze for 30 minutes- this will help prevent shrinking in the oven.

  • 5)

    Remove the tart shell from the freezer and line it with parchment that has been crumpled and then flattened back out. This will make it easier to fit into the tin. Fill the parchment-lined tart shell all the way to the top with pie weights, dried beans, or uncooked rice.

  • 6)

    Bake the tart on the center rack for 20 minutes.

  • 7)

    Remove the parchment and pie weights, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the Meyer lemon curd

  • 1)

    Add the lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest, and beaten eggs to a medium sized heavy-bodied sauce pan or pot. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken. Make sure to whisk the edges of the pot thoroughly, as this is where the curd has a tendency to burn.

  • 2)

    Once the curd has thickened, add the cornstarch slurry, and whisk thoroughly to combine. Remove from heat.

  • 3)

    Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the lemon curd into a heat-proof container, such as a pyrex, to remove any bits of egg.

  • 4)

    Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, to the container with the hot lemon curd. Stir continuously until all the butter is incorporated. The heat from the curd will melt it into the mixture.

  • 5)

    Allow the lemon curd to cool to room temperature, before adding it to the fully baked tart shell. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Lemon curd can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.

Make the Italian Meringue

  • 1)

    In a medium pot fitted with a candy thermometer or instant-read meat thermometer, combine the sugar and water and mix until the sugar is evenly dispersed.

  • 2)

    Cook the sugar syrup over medium heat until the thermometer reads 240 degrees F, also known as the soft ball stage. Brush down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent any sugar from re-crystalizing.

  • 3)

    While the sugar syrup is heating, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar into soft peaks using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or electric mixer. Soft peaks are gentle ridges that form in the egg whites that stand for a few seconds before collapsing back on themselves. This usually takes about 2 minutes.

  • 4)

    Once the sugar syrup has reached 240 degrees F and the egg white mixture has reached soft peaks, carefully pour the sugar syrup into the egg white mixture while the mixer is running on low. Be careful when handling hot sugar, as it is very dangerous. Turn the mixer speed to medium and beat the meringue until it reaches stiff peaks, meaning when you lift up the whisk attachment, it leaves a nice, stiff peak that holds its shape and does not collapse.

Assemble the tart

  • 1)

    To the fully cooled tart shell, add the cool lemon curd, and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Top the lemon curd layer with the meringue, using a spoon to shape it as desired. With a kitchen torch, toast the meringue, as desired. Alternatively, toast the pie under the broiler in your oven, keeping a watchful eye that it doesn’t burn.


Tart crust recipe adapted from Shiran Dickman’s blog, Pretty. Simple. Sweet.

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