Happy Pi Day, my friends! Today we are making meringue topped tartlets with a brown-butter crust rather than typical pie shell. The Brown-Butter crust is first par-baked and then filled with luscious citrus custards which is topped with a heaping mound of fluffy meringue. After a few moments back in the heat we soon have a golden-brown swirls atop the perfect single-serving dessert. We use egg yolks in the curd and egg whites in the meringue. A frugal and practical solution for divided eggs, but more importantly, a tastefully balanced dessert with the bold brightness of winter citrus and the sweetness of vanilla-scented meringue.
Citrus is at it's finest in the depths of winter, a welcome blast of tart, bright edible sunshine. Here is Southern California we are lucky (ahem, spoiled) to have access to a dizzying variety of locally grown produce throughout the year, but even here in this coastal paradise, we too must follow the seasons when it comes to Meyer Lemons & Blood Oranges. These elusive winter gems seem to pop-up overnight and disappear just as quickly.
Gather a bag (or two) of these fine fruits while they are still abundant and make yourself a winter treat: Meyer Lemon Curd & Blood Orange Curd. Dolloped onto yogurt, spooned directly into happy mouths, baked into bars, meringue pies or tarts, poured over pavlovas... the possibilities go on and on. Point being, you want this, you need this, so let's get cooking shall we?
If orange-creamsicles dreamed of a winter season reincarnation, they would aspire to be these candied orange peels with creamy vanilla undertones. Make your own summer-sunshine dreams come true with a few Valencia oranges and a double dose of vanilla. While these are delightful to nibble as-is (hello, movie snacks!) you must promise me to add some to one of your favorite baked recipes. Use them anywhere dried fruits are suggested. I've had wonderful results when added to oatmeal cookies, carrot cake, Irish soda bread, cranberry orange bundt cake, and even a savory chicken and sweet potato tagine.