(any) fruit curd tartlets + meringue twists.

fruit curd tartlets + meringue hats.

How’s that for a title? Because that’s really what they are; little vanilla tuille cookies shaped like ruffly free-form tartlets, filled with your choice of creamy fruit curd, and topped with a twist of meringue cookie. I made these around the same time as that angel food cake and grapefruit curd; so many of you mentioned that you hate wasting either the egg whites or yolks when you make a dessert which uses either one or the other, and I thought this was another great way to use both parts at the same time. The tuilles use 4 egg whites, and the meringues take 6, so find a fruit curd you love that uses around 10 egg yolks, and you’re all set.

You could say these require lots of work, but they don’t if you employ my method of doing things over time. Most curds keep for quite a while in the fridge, so that can be done well in advance. You can make the meringues the day before as well, or even two days prior, as long as you store them in an airtight container to keep any moisture out. The only thing I wouldn’t do more than a day ahead are the  wee tartlet cookies, because they really are best eaten within 1-2 days of creation.

I’ve never had much success with recipes like this, involving a finicky batter and some fast-moving fingers to bend those hot-from-the-oven cookies into beautiful tartlet shells. That’s the kind of thing Martha Stewart interns do. In fact, this is actually a Martha recipe, but with some changes to make the batter and the assembly less troublesome. Were it up to her, she would have you making impossibly thin little batter circles on parchment and then praying to every available deity while they bake to ensure you don’t get the inevitable burnt edges and raw center.

This is not the way I do it.

Because making the cookie slightly thicker when you bake it does actually ensure you get a little golden-edged, baked-through cookie shell, and that’s exactly what you’re going to do. It works, and it works really well, and as a bonus, making them this way also gives you precious extra seconds to bend them into shapes. Here’s how to do it:

how to: tuille cookies.

First, use a cup or small bowl with a 3-inch diameter. Draw 6 evenly spaced circles on a sheet of parchment paper fitted to a half-sheet pan with a pencil. Flip that sheet over so there’s no pencil marks on your cookies; you should be able to see the pencil lines through the parchment.

how to: tuille cookies.

Use a tablespoon to drop the tuille batter into the center of each circle. It’s a loose batter, and almost runny, so it does a good amount of the spreading for you.

how to: tuille cookies.

Finally, use a small spoon (if you have them handy, baby spoons work great) to evenly spread the batter. Key thing here? Don’t shortchange your edges; keep them as thick as the middle, or you’re going to have problems.

And that’s how to make a successful tuille cookie. Before you ask, yes; you can fit more than 6 on a half-sheet pan, but can you quickly shape more than 6 at a time before they harden? No. So stick with six and you won’t have any ruined ones. Speaking of the shaping, use anything you want for that: I like to use a mini-muffin pan, which is a nice size for plunging the cookies into, and your result will be just like mine above. For a wider, shallower tartlet cup, use a small bowl. If you want to practice, cut out a 3-inch diameter circle of paper and start pressing it into things to see how the folds work. One thing to watch for too is the balance of the tuille bottoms: aim to get them centered so they don’t tip over. If they want to lean, no worries. Use a slice of fruit or something to prop them up when serving if you want.

curd tartlets + meringue twists.

Or a ballerina. That’s a little “behind the scenes” action for you.

The rest of the components need little to no instruction. For the curd, use anything you want to. I was really wanting to try Stella’s new lemon curd on the BraveTart blog (no butter!) and it was absolutely gorgeous in these. Probably it’s my new favorite lemon curd. I’ll list some suggestions in the recipe notes below, but if you have a favorite, I bet it would be delicious in these.

As for the meringue twists, they are a tried-and-true meringue recipe from Martha Stewart which my mom (a meringue freak) uses on a regular basis. We use it to make the mushrooms for our annual Buche de Noel, and it’s delicious. You can use regular sugar for it, but when I make it, I like to use vanilla sugar, because it lends a nice, subtle flavor to the cookie.

tipsy meringues.

People, I am no professional at twisting that meringue, obviously; it’s just that solid of a recipe, because normal meringue recipes may cave under my fierce refusal to be appropriate and purchase pastry bags and tips (which I will shortly, it’s on my list.) I’m not going to lie: I made those with a plastic zipper bag, hole cut in the corner, which means if I can do it, so can you. Simply use that (or for goodness sakes, an actual piping bag) and pipe out swirls, maybe an 1 1/2 inches in diameter on the bottom. Try to fill in as you go so they stick to themselves and don’t tip over. As you can see above, mine didn’t always work, but the recipe makes so many that it didn’t matter. And I think they’re cute in their slight tipsyness, anyway.

curd tartlets + meringue twists.

I’m officially in the home stretch before vacation: I have less than two weeks before we leave, and I have so much to get done. Thankfully, I’ve had lots of successful baking and cooking going on here, some of that due to your help (successful sourdough starter!), so this little space is not something I’m stressing over.

Get packing, folks; it’s almost time for our annual trip to Florida.

Tartlet shells and meringue twists adapted from Martha Stewart Living; the original recipes exist here and here. The curd above is a lovely one from BraveTart, found here.

(Any) Fruit Curd Tartlets + Meringue Twists

for the shells:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/3 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar, sifted
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the curd:

  • I like to encourage you to find a curd you’re feeling presently, and go for it. When I made these, I was giving BraveTart’s new butterless lemon curd a whirl, and it was amazingly delicious. You can find it here.
  • I have my own tried-and-true lemon curd here, and it’s perfect if you like a little butter to cut through the tart lemon.
  • Faygie just did a beautiful triple berry curd which would look fabulous in these, and after all, it’s berry season.
  • This gorgeous strawberry curd, which makes great use of all that strawberry goodness we have going on right now.
  • That grapefruit curd I just made? Also delicious in this, and I know it uses a dozen egg yolks, so just cut it in half if you’d like.

so many curds; so little time.

for the meringues:

  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine vanilla sugar* or superfine regular sugar

*here’s what: I’m not fancy and I don’t keep superfine sugar in my pantry, especially not vanilla superfine sugar, because I simply don’t use it that often. I do, however, consider it essential to a good meringue, or pavlova, or anything delicate like this. Measure out regular granulated sugar into the bowl of a food processor and spin, spin, spin like there’s no tomorrow. Or for several minutes, whichever comes first. Poof (literally; you may want to throw a kitchen towel around that processor): superfine sugar. As for the vanilla part, it’s a nice addition: I take a big mason jar, throw a few vanilla beans in there, fill it with granulated sugar, and let it sit. It’s wonderful for when a vanilla moment strikes you. Bonus: when you use it, just remember to fill it back up with regular sugar again, and you’ll always have some. So I guess I’m DIY fancy. 

Draw your circles:

Take a glass out of your cabinets which measures a circle 3 inches in diameter. Using a pencil, draw 6 circles (2 rows of 3) on a sheet of parchment which fits inside your half-sheet pan. Flip the sheet over and place it on the pan; you should be able to see the penciled-in circles, but they won’t bleed onto your shells this way.

And yes: you could fit 8 on a sheet, but there are time constraints to consider; it’s much easier to handle 6 flaming hot wafers at a time than 8.

Make the shells:

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing on low speed until each egg is combined. With the mixer still on low speed, add the vanilla, then the flour, and mix until everything is incorporated.

Scoop a level tablespoon of batter out on to the middle of each of the circles. Using the back of a teaspoon (or baby spoon!) spread the batter out until it matches your circle drawing, paying special attention to keep the outside edges just as thick as the middle, or you’ll have singed edges.

Bake in the oven until golden around the edges, 10-11 minutes, checking at the 9-minute mark. While they are baking, ready either a mini-muffin pan or several small custard cups, depending on how foldy you like your cups.

When your shells are baked, remove them from the oven and, working quickly, press them into your vessel of choice, using your fingers to fold the natural bends in the shells as they form. Don’t take too long for each one: simply press them in, and they’ll pop out slightly as you work on the other ones. This is fabulous: it makes for a nice shape. Repeat as necessary and allow to cool completely before filling.

Make the curd:

I directed you to several curds above: I hope you avail yourself of one of them, and follow the instructions they come with. Be happy in the knowledge that whichever one you make, you’ll have plenty left over to just eat indiscriminately.

Make the meringues:

Preheat the oven to 175˚F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment.

Place the egg whites into a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat them until they form soft peaks. Add the superfine sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and beat each addition on medium-high speed until dissolved into the egg whites, about 20-30 seconds per addition, no shortcutting. I’m serious: if you add the sugar too fast, you’ll see the grains sticking in the mixture. This leads to a really attractive thing called “weeping,” which is essential when your beautiful meringues ooze a yellow liquid, making them look like they have an vague, infectious disease. This is really unpleasant to see in a dessert, for obvious reasons.

Take your time with the sugar: it’s helpful to work near a sunny window, as you can see the sugar grains in the mixture and how they’re doing. When all your sugar has been added, mix until everything is glossy and incorporated, 1 minute or so more.

Transfer to a pastry bag with, I suppose, whatever tip you like. You’re making high swirls here, and I’ll be honest: I cut a hole in a plastic zipper storage bag to do this. You can too, or use a proper tip of your choosing. Make stable, piled swirls onto your prepared sheet pans, around 20 on each pan.

Bake in the oven for 3 hours, until meringues are dry to the touch and baked through. Remove and let cool on the parchment to room temperature.

Assemble the tartlets:

Take each tartlet shell and fill it with a spoonful of curd. Pop a meringue swirl on each one and have a party.

Makes 30, which means you could have extra meringues and curd, depending on which curd you use. Win-win.

Obviously, all of these things store well separate from each other, but not all put together. The meringue and shells are good for up to 3 days, stored in a tightly sealed container. The curd typically keeps up for a week in the refrigerator.

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  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats June 20, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Oh my gosh, I love how that meringue looks! Like a soft serve ice cream cone 🙂 I’ve still never attempted to make meringues because i’m scared I won’t bake them long enough and they’ll be chewy instead of crispy. I really need to add that to the list of things i must try in the kitchen soon (along with homemade marshmallows). Also, your tipsy meringues are so cute.

    You know I’m totally with you on not wasting ingredients- or feeling compelled to create somethign else out of leftover ingredients- so i LOVE what you’ve done here, Shannon 🙂 Haha, that poor ballerina. When I first saw her feet poking out it reminded me a little of the Wicked Witch of the East from the Wizared of Oz.

    Have fun on your vacation! Weren’t you just in Florida?

    • Reply shannon June 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

      you’re so right; it DOES look like a soft serve cone! Don’t be scared of the meringues, or at least not this particular recipe, because i swear it works every single time (and i’ve made it LOTS of times). I think the fact that you’re baking them in a slow oven for 3 hours ensures that your meringues won’t be chewy. Certainly i’ve tried many recipes which have failed miserably, but this one has been very confidence-boosting for me, and i hope it will be for you also. Homemade marshmallows i STILL have never found a perfect recipe for, so i’m scared of those.

      I’m happy you like them so much! My poor ballerina is channeling the Wizard of Oz a little bit, isn’t she. 🙂

      I was just in florida back in March for “spring break” (because i like to call it that even though no one here is in school yet.) This will be like, our “official” summer vacation one though, where i go for three weeks and both mr. table and my sister are there for various lengths of time as well. No one stays as long as me and stella do; it’s a fabulous stay at home mom/freelance/blogger perk: I CAN WORK ANYWHERE, EVEN IN THE TROPICS. *yes* 🙂 I. can’t. wait.

  • Reply elizabeth June 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    OK, I am dying over how pretty these look. I do not have your patience for baking, but do I ever enjoy admiring the fruits of your labor. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually give these a go…

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:40 am

      Elizabeth, i won’t lie; i do have a good amount of patience when it comes to the kitchen, but not all the time. What i have perhaps MORE of is the ability to plan things over a span of time, and do things with multiple components like this gradually. it helps mentally, i think, with involved recipes, because you’re not stuck in the kitchen all day at one stretch.
      if you try these someday, start by just making a curd…and that’s it. throw it in a canning jar and place it in the fridge. Leave it for a few days if you want to; curd is good for a week. then at some point, make those meringues; they take basically no labor and just bake in a low oven for 3 hours, which is great for summer b/c your house won’t get hot. then put them in an airtight container. leave the kitchen for the rest of the day. the next day, make the tuilles. or not: they’re the most difficult, so i’d say if you want something that looks like these, go to the store, buy some of those little frozen phyllo cups, and boom: instant dessert, and by then, you won’t even feel like you made it. 🙂

  • Reply sara June 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

    So pretty! These little tarts are so lovely and look really tasty! 🙂

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:36 am

      thanks, sara! I was happy these worked; always nice to have somewhere to go with fruit curd, right?

  • Reply Amrita June 20, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Beautiful! Kinda funny because I made very similar ones a couple months back but just never posted them… They were ginger honey tuilles, but I put champagne frosting and chocolate covered strawberries (leftovers from one of my recent posts). I was scared to make tuilles for the LONGEST time because of the idea of having to shape them right out of the oven. They definitely weren’t as bad as I expected, as long as you have time and patience, two things of which I don’t have as often as I’d like.
    I want to try fortune cookies next!

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:36 am

      is it pitiful to beg you to post those? because please…ginger honey tuilles with champagne frosting…yum. i’m a sucker for anything with ginger in it, so i would automatically love those. you’re right; tuilles really do take time and patience to make, and you definitely have to go into it knowing that.

      fortune cookies are the next step of this, i think, for me also: i tried a martha recipe last chinese new year, and wow: bad. like i could not get them to work because i basically had blackened edges and a doughy center (i didn’t name it in the post, but that’s what i was vaguely referring to when i talked about tuille failure). Really want to try them again to see if maybe i’ve figured it out by using a slightly thicker batter than the one i was using.

  • Reply Ashley June 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Theeeey’re gorgeous, daaaaaahhhhling!
    And they look darn scrumptious too. You’re also very “DIY fancy” with your vanilla sugar and squished ballerina props 🙂 Love it!

    I’ve made tuiles once. Using a Martha recipe. It frayed my impatient nerves and burned my fingertips when I tried to roll the tuiles into graduation diploma/scrolls. I may be recovered enough to try the tuile drape…

    Also – and this may blow your mind as much as it did mine – you can make rhubarb curd. I did. It’s insane and I cannot be trusted with an entire container of it. Now I just want to curd-ify anything I can get my paws on.

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:32 am

      lol, i like being “diy fancy.” 🙂 i can’t hang with people who just have massively stocked pantries, but i can usually find a way to finagle a few fancy things on my own.

      tuilles as graduation diplomas!! that’s such a fantastic idea; i’m making a note of that for the next graduation i’m invited too…i love that. These seem to cool pretty fast, and since you’re pressing them into something versus using the pressure of your fingers, i feel like you’re less likely to get burned. When i did these, i sort of held the perimeter and pressed down into the bowl/pan, and then used my finger to help it stay.

      shut. up. i feel like that would be maybe the most insane curd ever. i’m sort of happy now we don’t have good rhubarb around here right now, because i can’t make it and eat it all prior to vacation. next year, though, i’m ON IT.

  • Reply Monica June 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    These are so adorable…and look so delicious! I have a love of tuiles and this kind in particular is so good! I love that you made it easier because when I made cigarette russes, I ended up making a handful and pretty much giving up on the rest because it’s just so time consuming. The meringue tops are too cute! : ) And that baby spoon brings back memories…enjoy your trip!

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:28 am

      Thank you, Monica! I had a lot of fun making these, and finally being successful with tuilles, which i have struggled with in the past. They really can be time-consuming; i have to make them on a day where i’m not rushed, for sure. 🙂
      I should get rid of her baby spoons (she doesn’t use them much anymore, at least not these little ones), but i can’t seem to do it. always hard to do things – even little ones – that admit to them growing up, right?

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats June 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm


    I love the meringue top, it’s very… dr suessy… in a very good way (as though there were a bad way to be ‘dr seussy’?)

    Speaking of piping, I was watching this video from Jeni’s in pure envy…. it would take me like 9 hours after 10 stops and throwing away and repiping to do that much meringue… seriously.

    • Reply shannon June 22, 2013 at 5:58 am

      there’s no possible way to execute a bad “dr. seussy” meringue, i think.
      oh. my goodness; i would cry repeatedly. there’s just no way.

  • Reply Jen @JuanitasCocina June 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    These would make fabulous Christmas trees! And I love the sound of “any curd”…because I can be creative. You’re like an art teacher, basically.

    • Reply shannon June 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      food art teacher! do you know of any school that is in need of one of those? they WOULD make fabulous christmas trees…i now have visions of technicolor dying them and throwing them atop some red, red cranberry curd. *that is happening*

  • Reply movita beaucoup June 28, 2013 at 7:24 am

    It’s been said above – soft serve ice cream, Christmas trees – those meringue twists are the bomb! Remind me to make pastry bags and tips a prize for Ginger 2013 – then you could just win ’em, and spend your money on an ice cream maker instead…

    Also, the use of vintage-inspired ballerina cupcake toppers for propping up food is brilliant.

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