Back to the recipe post..
I'm not a big fan of tarts but one day, I tried a lemon meringue tart from Gastronomia, lovely, where the slightly sweet meringue nicely balanced the sourness of the filling. I set out to start my journey of tart crusts, lemon curd and egg whites.
My first trial was with just a simple butter tart, a lemon curd recipe off the web and baked cinnamon apples for the topping.
|Lemon Apple Tart|
It was.. way too sour. The apple was meant to be sweet to counter-balance the tart but since I baked them with minimal brown sugar (trying to be healthy!), they turned out kind of bland. The sprinkle of cinnamon helped only slightly.
So.. I tried a few more lemon curd recipes.. and finally arrived at a sweet-sour balance. Indeed, a simple browned pillowy meringue is the best pairing. So far, willing friends and family have liked them and it's requested slightly more frequently than the rest.
|Lemon Meringue Almond Tart|
Almond Tart - I like to use an almond tart base, the husband loves almond!
(from my trusty Laduree recipe book)
120g very cold butter
70g confectionery sugar
25g ground almond
1 pinch sea salt
few drops of vanilla extract
200g cake flour
1. Sift the confect sugar
2. Cut butter into small pieces
Place both into a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, mix to combine
3. Add ground almonds, salt, vanilla essence, egg and flour one at a time in this sequence, mixing each component until just incorporated (do not over-mix).
4. Stop mixing when the dough comes together. Ball the dough up, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. (I tend to do this the night before)
2 eggs (it should be around 100g)
100ml lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon (be careful not to zest beyond the surface of the lemon. The inner white bits may make your lemon curd slightly bitter)
10g butter at room temperature but not melted
1. Using a heavy saucepan or you can choose to double boil, whisk all ingredients except butter together, over medium heat. Stir CONSTANTLY, until the mixture thickens but do not boil nor let it scramble. It is ready when you use a spoon to scrape apart the mixture and it puddles back slowly.
2. Remove from heat and add the butter in 2 parts. Stir to mix well.
3. Pour into a clean bowl and leave to cool slightly. Lightly cover with a piece of cling wrap to prevent skin from forming. Cool completely.
3 Egg Whites
Place them into a piping bag.
To complete the process:
1. Remove tart dough from fridge, cut dough and place into tart moulds. Place back in the fridge for 1 hour to rest the dough. Pre-heat oven to 190C.
2. Remove tart shells from fridge, poke small holes lightly with a fork. Line the tart shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I use uncooked rice, you can keep these rice bits as weights for future tarts.) Bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown.
3. Remove from oven, remove pie weights, pour the lemon curd into the tarts. Let it set while you prepare the meringue. Only prepare the meringue just before the tarts go back into the oven.
4. Pipe the meringue onto top of filled tarts. Pop them into the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the top is sufficiently browned.
5. Remove, cool and chill in fridge until ready to serve.
Tada! You are done.
Yeah, it's a long process..why do you think the Gastronomia tart cost S$8 when it's just filled with lemon and egg white!
You can make a large batch of lemon curd and keep it for more uses.. like filling leftover biscuits or making filled lemon curd cupcakes or simply spooning them atop freshly baked scones.