Freeform Lemon Meringue Tarts with Lavender Cardamom Crust

Thank the Lord it is almost summer again, and I can stop paying over a buck for a lemon.  If I had been making these Lemon Tarts 3 months ago, I’d have had a small fortune in them, for too many reasons.


Let me tell you a story you don’t care to hear.

I’ll be honest, when I think of dessert, I naturally lean towards cake, cookies, or brownies.  But I do enjoy pie if it’s done right.  Meaning – from scratch.  Please don’t serve me a store bought crust.  I don’t like plain old crusts, and I will scoop the filling out every.single.time.  Those pre-made crusts are like cardboard and powdered sugar. They’re weird. They’re tough.  They’re cheap and you know it.  Skip making the pie if you are going to resort to one of those things.

Okay, rant over.

I’ve had these tarts on the brain for a couple of months now. Spring started so early in many places this year, and Virginia was no exception. So for me, lemons are about summer, and I am ready for a taste of it. And if I am going to go to the trouble of making a decadent, pucker-up and die of happiness lemon curd, I am going to make a crust that’s as good on its own as it is cradling that lemony deliciousness.

Oh, and don’t forget a pile of baked meringue that’s tall and swirling in sweet peaks of toasted glory.  Gotta have the meringue.

So over the weekend, lemons finally went on sale, and I picked up enough of them to make these tarts.

Or so I thought.

Imagine, if you will, your good mood turned lemony sour.


It started with my inability to locate anything in my newly remodeled kitchen.  It seems nothing has found its new home yet, and to my dismay, my KitchenAid Juicer attachment was nowhere to be found.  As in – NOWHERE.  For over half an hour, I searched high and low for the juicer.  Finally, I gave up and started juicing the lemons by hand.

No big deal, right?

Riiiggghhhtt.  After juicing all the lemons I had on hand, because I was just squeezing versus actually juicing, I was a little low on the amount of juice I needed. What to do?  Well, I decided the back of a spoon pressed into each of the lemon halves would yield me enough juice to make the tarts.

Except I managed to knock over the entire bowl of juice in the middle of that “spoon juicing”.  Violently.  Lemon juice covered the counters, the cabinets, the floor.  Not a drop remained in the bowl, and I was furious.  Combined with the inability to find the juicer, the spilled juice put me over the edge.


I cleaned up the juice, cried a little, and decided I was going to bed, despite it being 2 in the afternoon.

Luckily Jon lassoed me back in to sanity, located the juicer, and ventured back to Food Lion to procure the lemons I needed.  Either he really wanted pie, or he didn’t want to see my face explode.  He won’t say which.

Now that the backstory is out of the way, let’s talk tarts.

Freeform tarts are genius.  No need to make a perfect pie crust or spend lots of time pressing dough into tiny little tart shells.  All you need to do is divide up the dough, roll it into balls, and smash them flat.  Voila…Freeform Tart Shells.


For mine, as I said, I hate boring crusts.  But this crust?  It’s amazing.  It’s soft, it’s full of richness.  You could eat it alone, with a glass of milk and be happy.  For starters, I used great butter (Kerrygold, of course!) and sugar.  Yes, sugar makes a difference, believe it or not.  The storebrand is often cheaper, but I bet you’ll find that it has clumps, the crystals are larger, and it’s “dusty”, for lack of a better word.  I used Dixie Crystals, because I am lucky enough to live in the south, and I can get my hands on it.  Great stuff.  For a punch of flavor I added lemon zest, lavender buds and cardamom.  I can’t tell you how amazing it turned out!  I could have eaten the dough straight out of the food processor (and did, Shhhh!).  I hope you’ll try it!

While the tart crusts baked, I made the lemon curd, which comes together easily and surprisingly quickly.  Then, while the lemon and crusts cool, you can whip together the meringue.  Time management, kids.  It’s almost like I know what I’m doing.

Just don’t ask me where I’ve managed to hide the new ceramic pie pan.

Or the juicer.


Freeform Lemon Meringue Tarts with Lavender Cardamom Crust

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 6 5-inch Tarts (roughly 12 servings)


    For the Crust
  • 3/4 cup cold salted butter; cut into pieces
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon lavender buds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • For the Filling
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 6 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • For the Meringue
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar


    For the Crust
  1. Combine all ingredients save for the water in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until dough has combined and has oat size and pea sized bits. Slowly add ice cold water until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. Do not overmix. (Without a food processor, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with a pastry cutter. Add water a bit at a time until dough comes together.
  2. Remove dough from bowl and gingerly knead into a ball, incorporating any scraps or dry ingredients. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Remove from plastic wrap and divide into 6 even pieces. Roll each into a disk, and flatten to 1/8 inch, approximately 5 inches in diameter. Place on parchment lined baking sheet or SilPat.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. For the Filling
  6. Bring water to a boil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for round 5 minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest together, then add the mixture slowly to the hot water, whisking constantly until incorporated.
  7. Place mixture over medium heat,continuing to whisk until it comes to a boil and becomes very thick.
  8. Add about half of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, and whisk until smooth. Carefully whisk the warmed yolks into the pot and continue cooking and whisking until mixture comes to a boil.
  9. Remove from heat and add butter,lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Allow to cool roughly 10 minutes, then add by large spoonfuls to the cooled tart crusts.
  10. For the Meringue
  11. Preheat oven to 425.
  12. Beat eggwhites, cream of tartar, salt and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form and meringue is shiny. Pipe or spread onto prepared tarts.
  13. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until meringue is browned. Allow tarts to cool, serve, and enjoy!


The Giveaway

You can certainly opt to use a bowl and a pastry cutter to make your crusts, but honestly, a food processor makes it SO much easier.  So. Much. Easier.  I have the new KitchenAid 13 Cup Food Processor, and it whips out flaky crusts in a few pulses.  Perfect size, too – the 13 cup size will easily hold this recipe, and quite possibly double the recipe.  Which I may attempt next time.

Of course I will.

Would you like to have one of these gorgeous new KitchenAid Food Processors?  It does just about everything under the sun.  It shreds. It chops.  It slices a freaking tomato.  Yes, really.  There is a bowl within the bowl.  There are more blades and gadgets on this thing than my first car.  So again, I ask you…would you like to have one?

Of course you would!  Well, it just may be your lucky day.

Tell me you want it.  Voila, you are entered to win.

For more chances:

There you are – 6 chances to win.  Just be sure to leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each one you do…Good luck!

Contest is open until May 28 at 11:59pm EST.  Prize is courtesy of and shipped by KitchenAid.  US Addresses only.  Disclaimer – I was supplied a Food Processor of my own to review, but was not compensated for my post or review.  My thoughts are 100% my own.


FYI – The floral plates used in today’s post are the Amazonia Collection from Villeroy & Boch.  Aren’t they beautiful??


  1. Sabrina5000 says:

    I follow Kitchen Aid on Twitter

  2. Sabrina5000 says:

    I follow Kitchen Aid on Facebook

  3. Sabrina5000 says:

    Well I made some chocolate chip cookies 1 day and I thought the directions said 1 stick of butter. So I threw in 1 whole stick of butter. It was only supposed to be 1/4 cup. I wondered why they spread so thin. Boy were they buttery. we ate them anyway.

  4. Lana M. says:

    I want it!!

  5. Lana M. says:

    I follow KitchenAid on Twitter

  6. Lana M. says:

    I liked KitchenAid on FB

  7. Lana M. says:

    I pinned a photo

  8. Lana M. says:

    I tried to make some ooey gooey brownies (I was totally craving them). They batter tasted delicious, I didn’t have the exact size pan I need so I put them in a slightly smaller pan (bad idea). By the time the edges were done the middle was still soggy, so I kept it in longer, which ended up burning the edges to a crisp. So I had to throw it all away, never fulfilled my brownie craving. :-(

  9. tiffany says:

    I would love to win this! You have the best contests.

  10. Liz McGinnis says:

    I’ve pinned this. :o)

  11. Liz McGinnis says:

    I follow KitchenAid on Twitter. :o)

  12. Liz McGinnis says:

    I follow KitchenAid on Facebook! :O)

  13. Yes,yes,yes,yes,yeeeeeess I want it!

  14. My kitchen is in desperate need of a new food processor!

  15. Liz McGinnis says:

    I would love to win this! I am 1 of 6 siblings and my family comes over for dinner once a night with their spouses and children… this would help me with my big family dinners I have to prepare!

  16. I like Kitchen Aid on facebook.

  17. Well, there was that time when I mistakenly “substituted” salt for sugar in a cake recipe. Such a terrible feeling when your guests make horiffic facial expressions after tasting your food!

  18. Most things always happens when you are in a hurry. For Halloween I made some bat cupcakes, you know the ones with the wings. They looked great however on the way to the church my other half sent the container flying around in the car. I didn’t take them into the church and it was a good thing that we were in church because after staying up until after 3:00 am to get them done I wanted to stay in the car and just cry.

  19. A food processor is desperately needed in my kitchen and I would love to have one from KitchenAid!

  20. Michelle D says:

    This would be awesome to win. Your pie looks amazing!!!

  21. A kitchen mishap that taught me the value of reading recipes thoroughly: I was hosting a dinner party and decided to go all out and make Suzanne Goin’s labor intensive devil’s chicken thighs and braised leeks. I bought the ingredients the day before and left myself a few hours the day of the party figuring that would be enough time, so imagine my complete shock when I finally discovered that the first step of the recipe was to marinate the chicken for *at least* four hours. I was just so angry with myself for having the time to prep properly, yet somehow missed that crucial step upon multiple earlier skimmings of the recipe. I wound up making something else, and my boyfriend and I enjoyed an incredibly fancy dinner the next day. Lesson learned!

  22. Michelle D says:

    I became a fan of KitchenAid on Facebook. :)

  23. I’m following KitchenAid on Twitter!

  24. Michelle D says:

    I just pinned a photo of this on Pinterest and I started following all of your pins. :)

  25. sondra guire says:

    I am your newest follower and would LOVE to have this food processor!

  26. sondra guire says:

    Kitchen mishap? Yes I have had one, two, twelve…too many! It is enough to make you want to crawl back into bed even if it is 2:00 in the afternoon.

  27. Michelle D says:

    When I was first married I made some mango glazed pork chops for my husband and I, they were so disgusting that neither of us could eat more than a bite. I must have done something wrong because they were so bad. We still joke about those pork chops and I haven’t attempted ANY kind of pork chop since then! I do much better with the baking. :)

  28. sondra guire says:

    Dang, hit the wrong button, the latest mishap was just the other day. I had a scrumptious strawberry/rhubarb pie in the oven covered with plastic wrap. (We have a problem with fruit flies & the oven is the safest place to store stuff you don’t want buggy) Well, I completely forgot about the pie being in there and preheated the oven to put my dinner casserole in there. When I opened the door to slide my pan in I saw the pie in all its shrinkwrapped glory. I still don’t know how I am going to get that melted plastic off of my pie plate.

  29. sondra guire says:

    I like KitchenAid on Facebook.

  30. Yeah, I’d love to have that food processor. LOVE. TO.

  31. Kim in RI says:

    I want it!!!!!

  32. Kim in RI says:

    And I posted a beautiful pic of the lemon tart on my pinterest. I love lemon and lemon curd especially!

  33. Karen Lynch says:

    Would love to win this. My food processor is a La Machine, yep it is sooooo old some probably have never heard of it.

  34. Karen Lynch says:

    I follow KitchenAid on Twitter.

  35. Karen Lynch says:

    I like KitchenAid on Facebook.

  36. Karen Lynch says:

    I stumbled your lemon meringue deliscious pie.

  37. Karen Lynch says:

    I pinned your dreamy lemon pie.

  38. Karen Lynch says:

    My daughter is learning to cook so we have had several mishaps already and I am sure we will have a few more. The last one involved lifting the mixer out of the batter while still on. Batter spray everywhere. We are working on laughing at ourselves.

  39. My guy loves lemon meringue pie and he has a birthday coming up. This may just help me to top his mommy’s pie ;) I definitely would love to win the food processor!

  40. I’m a fan of KitchenAid on FB

  41. I follow KitchenAid on Twitter

  42. I pinned a photo of one of your tarts :)

  43. I took a bunch of cooking classes in high school, and had fallen in love with this sloppy joe pasta recipe – it was super quick, super easy to scale up, pretty tasty. My dad loved it – and he never liked any “weird” foods. Fast forward a couple years – my first college boyfriend had asked me if I’d cook dinner for him, his 3 roommates, and their girlfriends-plus a couple friends from their apartment complex. I decided to go with the sloppy joe pasta – those 19 year old boys ate A LOT of food normally. I still don’t know exactly what happened – maybe I didn’t drain the massive amount of pasta well. But it turned into a very soupy, very watery, tasteless mess. I was SO embarrassed. I just wanted to hide under a rock until graduation (which was still about 3 years away)! #notwinning

  44. Question: Step 8. Do you add the custard to the crusts as soon as you take it off the stove and add the vanilla, etc? Or do you let the custard cool, then add to the crusts? Thanks!

  45. I would like one of those! (both the tarts and the food processor :P )

  46. I also pinned this recipe on Pinterest (mostly because it’s amazing more than to enter the contest, but it doesn’t hurt to have another entry hehe)

  47. I already like KitchenAid on ze Facebook

  48. I already follow KitchenAid on Twitter– which is what got me to this magical recipe! :)

  49. and as for kitchen mishaps, I have too many to recount in one small post… but most recently, I made black bean brownies and forgot to add the eggs :P They still turned out delicious, if not the brownies I was going for.

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