A classic that is very easy to fail. However when done correctly and with high quality ingredients it could be incredibly satisfying. It's about balance and subtlety. I would make this recipe on a Sunday morning when I have friends for dinner. Also the photo is from my family's restaurant back in Colombia where I would sell them, all made from scratch with a Colombian variety of citrus (a cross between a mandarin & lime) yum!
Short crust pastry:
- 270g butter (softened) (I use pepe saya)
- 4g salt
- 170g icing sugar
- 50g almond meal
- 2 eggs
- 500g Unbleached flour (Demeter farm mill stone ground organic is awesome)
- 300g eggs (Ideally fresh organic)
- 300g raw sugar (Ideally organic)
- 180g lemon juice plus the rind
- 20g cornflour
- 30g Cultured butter (I use pepe saya)
- 250g raw sugar
- 160g Egg white
- 5 drops of lemon juice
1. Put all dry ingredients in the kitchen aid or mixing bowl and combine. Then add the butter and eggs and mix untill it comes together. Wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.
2. Take the dough out and roll it with a rolling pin to a 3 mm thickness. Put a baking tray in the oven and heat oven to 160. Bake the pastry case ‘blind’ (filled with dry beans) for 15 mins, then remove the foil and bake a further 5-8 mins until the pastry is pale golden and cooked. Set aside. (Can be done a day ahead if you want to get ahead.)
3. For the lemon curd. Mix the lemon juice and cornflour first the add the eggs and sugar and combine. Move it to a small pan and keep on low heat until it thickens and boils. It has to bubble up for about 30 seconds with constant stirring. Then you take it off the heat and let it cool down before pipping/scooping into the tart shells.
4. For the meringue put the egg whites in a large bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Whisk to to combine, place over a bain marie which is a small pot of boiling water, then you place the bowl on top and whisk untill you hit 75c on a thermometer. Then take the bowl out of the heat and using an electric mixer whisk on high till you achieve stiff peaks, white and glossy finish.
5. Place in a pipping bag with a round 1cm nozzle if possible. Then pipe right in the middle of the lemon curd with steady pressure then rising the nozzle 1 cm every second to create what I call the 'michelin' effect. (Refer to the photo)
Enjoy the same day for a crunchy tart base.
Extra tip: Brush some melted white or dark chocolate to the inside of the tart shells when cold to ''water proof'' them. They will retain the crunch a lot longer.