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blue duck bakery lemon meringue tart
Photo by Rachel Young

I have a slight problem with the mini lemon meringue tarts sold at Blue Duck Bakery Café in Riverhead and Southold: namely, I find them irresistible.

My infatuation with the crumbly beauties began innocently enough. One afternoon last month, I stopped by the East Main Street eatery in Riverhead for lunch (their turkey and muenster sandwich with cranberry mayo is a favorite) and ordered a mini tart on a whim. At three inches in diameter and $4.50 a tart, it didn’t break the bank and I was able to (falsely?) reassure myself that its relatively small size meant it was “probably low in calories.”

Who am I kidding? After one bite I was completely hooked on the pastries and felt like eating my recommended daily caloric intake in them. A shortbread base expertly houses the tarts’ sweet lemon filling and tall, fluffy meringue. The ingredients – among them, egg whites, granulated sugar and cream of tartar — are simple and well integrated.

It turns out I’m not alone in my adoration.

“The tarts are very popular and people are actually starting to incorporate them into their wedding desserts,” says Victoria Bragg, manager at Blue Duck’s Riverhead site. (There are also locations in Southold and Southampton, and a new shop in Greenport is in the works.)

Weddings, you say? I’m not even engaged but I’m already calculating how many mini lemon meringue tarts I’ll need to order for the reception. I plan on eating at least five.