A buttery flaky pastry crust filled with creamy tangy lemon curd and topped with some torched meringue makes these Lemon Meringue Tarts the most delicious of desserts.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
375g all-purpose plain flour
80g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beaten
2 tablespoons ice cold water
Lemon Curd Filling
6 egg yolks
240g caster sugar
2 tablespoon lemon zest
200ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 lemons for both zest and juice
2 teaspoon cornflour
60g double cream
120g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg whites
For the Sweet Short Crust Pastry
- Sift the dry ingredients, flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter into the flour and rub the butter and flour together between your fingers until it resembles a bread crumb consistency.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and using a fork, mix in the egg into the flour.
- Add 2 tablespoons ice cold water and use your hands to bring the dough together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough just a couple of times to gather all the crumbs into a ball. Then shape the dough into a disc lightly with your hands. Wrap the dough a couple of times with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F. Once chilled, let the dough sit at room temperature for ten minutes and then on a lightly floured surface, cut the disc into six even pieces. Roll out each piece of dough until it’s the thickness of a coin.
- Ensure the dough is rolled out large enough to cover the base, the sides and enough for over-hang of your tartlet tin. Place the dough into the tart tin and with your fingers gently press the dough up the sides of the tin into all the grooves. Using a sharp knife, cut the excess dough from the tin. Repeat with the remaining dough and tart tins.
- Prick the pastry base all over with a fork and then line each tart base with greaseproof paper and fill with pie weights all the way up the sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and pie weights and return the pastry back to the oven for a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove the six tarts from the oven and allow to cool fully.
For the Lemon Curd Filling
- Combine egg yolks, caster sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, corn flour and double cream in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, making sure the pan does not touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens or the back of a spoon is coated and leave a clear pass if you run your finger through it. This can take between 10-20 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve. Add the butter, a few cubes at a time, whisking until fully melted and combined. Don’t rush, the extra whisking allows for a lighter, creamier curd for the tart. Once the curd is at room temperature, fill each tart shell with lemon curd. Allow to set in the fridge for an hour before piping with the meringue.
For the Italian Meringue:
- Put egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to the boil.
- Cook over high heat and when the sugar syrup reaches a temperature of 105C degrees begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. If you do not have a thermometer you can tell that the syrup has reached the correct temperature when big bubbles in the liquid become a bit smaller.
- Continue to cook the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 115-117c degrees and remove from heat.
- Increase the whipping speed to high and pour in the syrup in a thin stream while whipping. Whip for about 10 minutes until you get a stable glossy meringue.
- Transfer the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with 2 cm round piping tip and decorate the tarts.
- Brown the meringue with a blowtorch and decorate with lemon thyme.
The dough recipe makes for x6 11cm/4in tart tins with removable bottoms. There will be a little left over from the overhangs that will be trimmed.
The Lemon Meringue Tarts will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge covered in cling film.
Don’t keep the Lemon Meringue Tarts out at room temp for longer than 2 hours.
Keywords: Dessert, Lemon Tart