I am going to visit friends in Milan. They have sweet tooth. Apart from cakes they would have love tart. Originally I attempted to re-bake the pear almond tart before the departure, but their love of meringue led me to another thought. Lemons right in the fridge, so a new trial of lemon meringue tart and it turned out successful. My teacher and schoolmates liked it. The combination of the buttery pastry crust, the sharpness of the lemon filling and the velvet meringue gives a special sensation. Awakening, refreshing, slight sweetness and silkiness amalgamate. Can you imagine?
For pastry, I opt for Laura Washburn. It’s simple, tasty and never fails.
200g cake flour
2 tsp caster sugar (original recipe 3 tsp)
100g cold butter, cut into pieces
1 pinch of salt
2 Tbsp water
Mix the cake flour, butter, salt and sugar by hands or you can process it in a food processor
Add water, mix and forms coarse crumbs. Don’t knead too much
Transfer the pastry to a sheet of baking parchment, pat into a ball and flatten to a disc. Wrap in the parchment and chill for 30-60 minutes. I left it more than a day.
Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a disc slightly larger than the tart tin. Carefully transfer the pastry to the prepared tin, patching any holes as you go and pressing gently into the sides.
To trim the edges, roll a rolling pin over the top, using the edge of the tin as a cutting surface. Tidy up the edges and refrigerate until firm, 30-60 minutes.
Prick the pastry all over, line with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake until just golden, 10-15 minutes more. Let the tart shell cool slightly.
For the filling
2 level tbsp cornflour
Finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemon
125ml fresh lemon juice
Juice of 1 small orange
85g butter, cut into pieces (I may trim the portion of butter next time)
3 egg yolks and a 1 whole egg
For the meringue
4 egg whites, room temp
2 level tbsp cornflour
It’s really much meringue, I may consider to make 75% of it another time.
While the pastry bakes, prepare the filling:
Mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice. Make orange juice up to 200ml with water and strain into the pan.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted.
Beat the egg yolks and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.)
Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.
Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating.
Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick.
Quickly reheat the lemon filling and pour it into the pastry case.
Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink), then spread so it just touches the pastry (this will anchor it and help stop it sliding). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling, then give it all a swirl.
Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured.
Let the tart sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove. Eat the same day or keep the unfinished part in the fridge. It’s another sensation eating it cold. And it’s always nice to enjoy it with friends. Here is one of them, Christina.