Lemon and Meringue are two of my favorite things, so when they are combined I’m a happy girl! This recipe is divided into 3 parts, the pastry shells, the lemon curd and finally the meringue. I’m also going to give you some options, because there is a more and less complicated way of achieving this recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTRY:
- 170g (1 cup) Cake Flour
- 110g (½ cup) Butter (cold, unsalted & cut into cubes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 40g (1/3 cup) Icing/Powdered Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cold Water
ALTERNATIVE PASTRY BASE: An easier & quicker way to make a pastry base is with some biscuits (digestive/tennis biscuits/tea biscuits/coconut biscuits) and butter. So you will need 200g biscuits and 100g butter. Crush the biscuits and melt the butter and mix the two together. There you have it, a simple pastry base ready to be used. I would recommend filling your baking dish/tin/tray and then place it in the fridge for the butter to harden again which will keep this base compact and together.
Add the flour and butter to a food processor and mix together until it looks like fine bread crumbs. Then add the powdered sugar and mix again until incorporated. Next, add the water and mix until the pastry forms a ball inside the processor.
The pastry will be crumbly , but you don’t need to any more water. On a floured surface, knead the pastry until it becomes smooth. Shape it into a ball and then squash it flat to make it about 2cm thick. Place the pastry in some plastic film and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Grease a cupcake/muffin tin and divide the pastry evenly between each hole. Once you’re done, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from the freezer and smooth out the edges and inside of the pastry shells with the back of a teaspoon. Place the tray back into the freezer for about 10 minutes, until they are hard.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
Blind bake the shells for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven and brush with egg white to create a seal. Continue baking them for another 8 minutes. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and and let them cool completely before taking them out the baking tin.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOMEMADE LEMON CURD:
- 3 lemons (freshly squeezed) OR 150ml of lemon juice
- 115g (¾ cup) unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
- 3 large eggs
- 125g (2/3 cups) white sugar
ALTERNATIVE LEMON CURD: 1 can of condensed milk, 2 Egg Yolks & 125ml Lemon Juice. Start by whisking the condensed milk in a large bowl, add the lemon juice slowly while continuously whisking and then add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Pour over your pastry shells/base and bake for 10 minutes to cook the eggs.
Cut the butter into cubes and set aside.
In a pot, whisk the eggs as you add the sugar and mix well.
Add the lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon (zest is optional but helps with flavor)
Transfer to the stove top and cook over a gentle/medium heat for 5 – 8 minutes to thicken the mixture
Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter piece by piece, while mixing and incorporating the butter well with a whisk
Pour the finished Lemon Curd into a glass jar and let it rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE MERINGUE:
You can use an Italian Meringue:
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 60g / 1/4 cup Boiling Water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the boiling water and sugar into a pot and simmer over medium heat until it reaches 100°C/243°F.
- While the sugar is reaching temperature, place the egg whites in a bowl and once the sugar reaches 110°C start whisking your egg whites slowly. (you can use a hand mixer, but I really recommend a stand mixer)
- When the sugar syrup reaches 117°C/243°F, remove from the heat and drizzle slowly, in a thin stream down the side of the bowl with the egg whites whisking on high speed.
- Reduce the speed of the mixer, add the vanilla extract and continue whisking the meringue until the bowl is cool and you have stiff peaks.
Or you can use a French Meringue:
- 3 Egg Whites
- 3/4 cup White Sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
- Just before you reach stiff peaks, add the lemon juice and then the vanilla extract and stop whisking the meringue when the peaks are stiff.
Assemble your individual tarts by filling each one with some lemon curd. Place your meringue in a piping bag (optional) and pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd. Place them in the oven under the grill option, to brown the meringue, or use a blowtorch if you have one.