Lemon meringue tart

  (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / November 12, 1997)



Note: We love pies. We publish pie recipes throughout the year, and we devoted two covers to pies and pie-making. But the pie of the year, we all agree, was Nancy Silverton's lemon meringue tart from her book "The Food of Campanile" (Villard, $35), which we printed in time for Thanksgiving. Silverton makes her meringue smooth and flat, instead of fluffy and high, and she serves the tart with a Champagne vinegar sauce that emphasizes the sour over the sweet. It's a beauty to look at and a treat to eat.

SWEET PASTRY DOUGH

2 3/4 cups unbleached pastry or unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled and cut in small pieces

2 extra-large egg yolks

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream plus more as needed

MERINGUE

2 cups powdered sugar, lightly packed

4 extra-large egg whites

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

CHAMPAGNE VINEGAR SAUCE

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 cup Champagne vinegar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces

FILLING

2 cups lemon juice (20 large lemons)