Nothing quite says truly, madly over-the-top frothy fun like lemon meringue pie, yet it started, in a way, with the Quakers, a group more typically associated with sobriety, broad-brimmed hats and oats. The Quakers, you see, are widely credited with inventing lemon custard in the late 18th century; no lemon custard (or curd), no lemon meringue pie.
The term pie is used somewhat unusually here, as a pie is typically covered with a lid of some sort, while a tart is open. The argument among pie authorities, then, is whether meringue constitutes a lid.
The hair-splitters say a classic lemon meringue pie has lemon custard as its filling, thickened with cornstarch, while the same dish made with a sharper lemon curd filling is best termed a lemon meringue tart. The recipe we present here is a hybrid, the best of both worlds, if you will, so call it by whichever term takes your fancy.
A tart by any other name…
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