These amazing little tarts are great as a stand-alone dessert or part of a mini selection. A crispy sweet pastry tart case filled with a tangy lemon meringue curd and loaded with a silky smooth meringue.
140g Cold unsalted butter diced
200g Plain flour
50g Ground almonds
100g Caster sugar
1 egg (1 extra egg for egg wash)
490g caster sugar
420g Lemon juice freshly squeezed
6 lemon zest
1 Gelatine leaves ( 3g)
325g Butter cubed
200g Eggs whites
To make the sweet pastry, place the sugar, butter, almonds, and flour into a bowl, either in a mixer with the paddle attachment or with your fingers rub the ingredients together to create a fine crumb. Add the egg and gently bring it together to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour before using. This can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days after the day it is made.
For the tart case, preheat the oven to 180c. Layout 6x8cm pastry rings onto a lined tray Line the tart rings being sure to push into the corners. Leave 0.5 cm overhanging the cases, this will ensure the pastry does not shrink. Place in the freezer to harden for 10mins. Line the case with baking paper or cling film and fill with baking beans, blind bake @ 180c for 20-30mins. This timing will vary depending on the oven. Once the edge of the tart rings is golden remove the baking beans and bake until the tart case has an even dark golden colour. Remove from the oven and take the additional egg, gently whisk and brush the inside of the tart cases, place back in the oven for 2mins to seal. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once fully cooled, take a fine grater and grate the overhang of the tart case to create an even finish.
For the curd make a beurre noisette with the 130g butter, pass through a muslin cloth, and set it aside. Soak the gelatine in ice-cold water. Place the eggs, lemon juice, and sugar into a bowl over a pan of simmering water, keep whisking until the temperature reaches at least 83C. Remove from the heat, squeeze any excess liquid from the gelatine and add to the curd whisking in well. Add the cubed butter and beurre noisette whisking until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the zest.
While still hot pour into the prepared tart cases, fill as high to the top as possible. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to set.
To make the Italian meringue, place the egg whites in a clean bowl for a kitchen aid or mixer and place at a slow speed. Meanwhile place the sugar into a thick-based pan and cover with a little water, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Keep checking the temperature until it reaches 121C. Remove from the heat and turn the mixer up to medium speed, the whites should be a little fluffy by this point. Slowly pour the sugar onto the egg whites until half of the sugar has been added. Turn the mixer up to full speed the whites will go thick and fluffy, at this point add the remaining sugar, this helps give a marshmallow texture. Keep whisking on full speed until the meringue has fully cooled. Place into a piping bag with a 1/4in plain nozzle.
Pipe the meringue directly into the centre of the set tarts lifting up the piping nozzle every couple of seconds to create a larger to smaller effect with the meringue. Blow torch the meringue just before serving.