Lemon tart or lemon meringue pie? Some people may think they are the same, and some just cannot tell the difference or mistake them with each other. Well, they are part of the same family maybe, but for sure they are not the same. So, let’s see what are the differences and which is better in this debate?
Lemon tart is a dessert made with pie crust and lemon curd, while lemon meringue pie is more or less the same recipe, including a big layer of meringue cream as a topping. Lemon tart is thinner, more acidic and has fewer calories than meringue pie. Lemon meringue pie has more layers and is more sugary.
As you may see, they are significantly different in almost every component, so read more to have an overview of all details and in the end, decide which one you will choose to bake next time.
Lemon Tart vs. Lemon Meringue Pie: Differences
In texture, both those desserts have some considerable differences.
Lemon tart is completely yellow as both the shell and lemon curd are golden and yellow. This tart is very thin, has shallow sides and all the lemon curd remains inside the pie crust.
The surface is very smooth, without lumps. It can be decorated with colorful fruits like orange or berries, but overall the appearance is really minimalistic.
As per lemon meringue pie, it is much higher as it has a big layer of cream. The filling is deep, which doubles its height. The cream is put into the pie in a very spontaneous way. While decorating, you don’t spend time trying to make it flat. On the contrary, the slopes are part of the decoration.
In this pie, there is no place for fruits or other decorations, as in the end, you will brown the surface with a handheld torch. In this dessert, the dominant color is white on the outside and yellow on the inside.
In general, the organoleptic attributes of both are quite similar. Both desserts are projected to be acidic and not very sugary in the way we find in chocolate cake. Both desserts have a dominant lemon flavor, caused by the lemon juice and zest.
They are sugary, but not too much. Between these two, the sweetest is lemon meringue pie, as it has extra sugar in the meringue cream. You can feel a metallic taste in meringue pie because it contains cream tartar. Cream tartar perfectly fits this pie because it’s not strong, but enjoyably light.
Lemon tart is more sour and tangy, but not at the level that disturbs your tasting senses. It is very buttery and has a sharp odor, as you can smell the citrus presence.
Lemon meringue pie has approximately 284 calories for a portion of 3,5 oz (100 grams).  The most dominant macronutrients are carbohydrates, and the second one fat, respectively 39,1 g and 12,9 g. Because of the lemon juice, this dessert has a good quantity of vitamin C, which is 3,3 mg.
Since Lemon tart does not have meringue, it has fewer calories, 105,3 calories for a portion of 100 grams. The present macronutrients are carbs 18,4 g and fat 1,3 g. It also contains 78.9 mg of calcium.
Which One Is Faster to Make?
Lemon tart is a pie with two layers, which even has some techniques you have to be careful with. In total, it may need around 30 minutes to be made. On the other hand, lemon meringue pie needs more than 1 hour, approximately 70 minutes.
Which One Is Easier to Make?
The easiest recipe between those two is, without any doubt, lemon tart. As explained, meringue pie is an extension of lemon tart, as the basis is lemon tart itself covered with meringue creme. These technical details and the fact that meringue is a delicate cream that needs a lot of attention while preparing it – all this means that lemon meringue pie is more difficult to make.
It is believed that a Philadelphian cooker invents lemon meringue pie, Elizabeth Goodwell, around 2 centuries ago, more precisely in 1806. She loved to bake and was actually a famous baker in her town, and while using a lot of egg yolks to prepare custard, she decided to create something with white eggs, which is how she ended up creating meringue topping.
As per lemon tart, there are theories believing that were again invented by Goodwell right before meringue, and some other people believe that the origin is from England.
Which One Is More Popular?
It is difficult to evaluate which is more popular, as this depends on other factors, like the consummation or revenue each dessert generates in the patisserie industry.
I would say that considering their origins: lemon meringue pie is more consumed in America and lemon tart is more well-known and appreciated in some European countries like England, France and Italy.
So, each dessert has its own target group differently. Even today, technology has made it possible to spread recipes worldwide, which makes it more difficult to define the popularity.
Lemon Tart Vs. Lemon Meringue Pie: Which Is Better?
So difficult question to answer: which is better between those two amazing desserts of the same family? When we talk about tastes, every perception is unique and indisputable.
Knowing that, I can say that is completely subjective. Lemon tart is more sour and tangy, a dessert for people who love the acidic flavor. On the other hand, lemon meringue pie is full of cream, has three layers and even why is not the most sugary. Due to many eggs, it remains a more heavy dessert.
So, light or heavy? You choose!