Saturday, 9 July 2016

Lemon Meringue Tarts

My backyard has a lemon tree and always produces plenty of large lemons almost the whole year round. I always make a joke about my lemon tree with my husband, once we had to cut some of branches off because they had become too heavy and the lemon tree may fall. 
Lemon meringue tart is one of my auntie's favorite, she loves any sour dessert, she said "because it's not too rich" and I agree with her, sour taste makes desserts more interesting by the contrast of sweet & sour.

Shortcrust Pastry 
200 g. plain flour
50 g. almond meal
100 g. butter
2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbs cold milk or cold water

Lemon Curd
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup corn flour 
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice 
Knop of butter
Lemon zest 

Italian Meringue 
1 cup sugar
100 ml. water
3 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar

 To make shortcrust pastry
1. Preheat the oven to 180c degree. 
2. Place the flour, salt, almond meal & butter in the bowl of the food processor and mix until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then add egg yolk and milk then mix until the dough just comes together. Lightly knead then wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins. 
3.Roll pastry, using the rolling pin, on the lightly floured surface to about 3 mm. thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles slightly larger the the opening in the mould (I'm using mini muffin tray) and place in mould making sure of a snug fit. Next prick the centre of each mould with a fork several times. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Rest on a cooling rack to cool.

To make lemon curd filling
1. Beat the egg yolks in the large bowl and set aside. 
2. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, water and cornflour together into the sauce pan, stir until the flour dissolves then turn the heat to low. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thick, remove from heat and pour the egg yolks in, stirring for 30sec then return to very low heat and stirring at all time until the mixture becomes a thick custard. Remove from the heat. Add butter and stir to combine.
3. Pour the lemon filling into a shortcrust pastry. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
To make Italian meringue
1. Use the electric mixture beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together, using a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
2. Meanwhile, combine sugar and water together in a small sauce pan, bring to the boil until sugar dissolves, brushing side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Reduce heat to medium until sugar syrup reach 121c degree or hard ball stage on a thermometer, gradually pour syrup into egg white mixture while whisking with high speed, continue whisking until thick and the bottom of the bowl cooled to room temperature.
Spoon meringue on top of the tarts use the back of tea spoon to make large swirls to create peaks. Use blowtorch to caramelise meringue. Refrigerate befor serve.