I never really developed a taste for tarts and/or pies until recently, when I started cafe-hopping and discovered the joys of such wondrous creations. I guess I always preferred to have a red velvet cupcake or a chewy, fudge brownie – baked goods and fruits never quite seemed to appeal to me. I think it was either Assembly Coffee’s passionfruit meringue tart or Carpenter and Cook’s lemon and passionfruit meringue tarts that converted me. Just too good. I love the contrast between the textures and the mishmash of flavours involved in a tart. The sturdy and savoury biscuit crust; the viscous consistency of the tangy lemon curd and the airy, sweet meringue is the icing on top of the cake.
Or in this case, simply the meringue on top of the tart.
One of my favourite things about tarts is how the flavours seem so complicated when put together, when in reality it is so, so simple to create. Flavour pairings are so important, and when two flavours are paired together perfectly you can hear birds singing a melodious tune in the background on a lovely summer’s day.
For this tart, I used a digestive biscuit crust over the traditional shortbread crust in the name of saving time, and because digestive biscuits are simply a classic. My friend Edlyn and I initially weren’t quite so sure about how to press the crust into the sides of the pan; this being our first time baking anything tart-related. Halfway through, we also realised that the recipe didn’t factor in sufficient crust for the sides as well, and we scrambled to crush a few more biscuits and melt more butter to fill it all the way. Digestive biscuit crusts always get me, and this one didn’t disappoint.
The lemon curd was also an interesting one to make. All I can say is, don’t worry if the curd takes a while to form and the mixture to thicken – good things come to those who wait. Also, whisk it properly and make sure that there are little to no lumps in the batter. This will give your curd a smooth consistency that I promise will be worth the effort.
And that meringue. Fluff, fluff.
On a side note, the World Cup Finals are showing on my television and I must admit, the atmosphere over in Rio looks amazing. I’m not a football person at all, but I swear I would attend one of these events just to experience that atmosphere. The football itself, though.. I barely understand what the heck is going on, to be honest. But I try.
Back to the beauty.
I adapted my recipe off sortedfood’s, whom I believe have pretty reliable recipes and are so fun to watch! They also make everything seem so simple, it’s a real great site especially for beginners and the youtube videos are incredibly helpful!
Lemon Meringue Tart
Recipe adapted from here
- 180 g digestive biscuits, crushed
- Approximately 75 g of butter
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 2 eggs
- 100 g cold cubed butter
- 150 g white sugar
- 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour (don’t skimp on this, it really helps to thicken the mixture)
- 3 egg whites
- 120 g white sugar
- Crush the digestive biscuits with a food processor, or a rolling pin (I had great fun placing my biscuits in a ziploc bag, crushing and rolling them with an old and empty bottle of lemonade I found in the house!)
- Melt the butter, and stir it into your digestive biscuit mixture to combine. I would actually recommend a larger batch of this, as I found my crust to be a little thin, and you definitely want enough to give you that thick, sturdy support.
- Press into a 20-cm tart pan and set aside. (Also, I recommend that you do not attempt this with a fork.)
- Whisk the zest and juice of the lemon with the two eggs in a saucepan well, then add in your cubed butter, cornflour and sugar.
- Transfer saucepan over a medium heat, and continue whisking thoroughly throughout. This is important!!
- Lower the heat when the mixture thickens, and this might take a while to happen so be patient and keep whisking!!
- Upon thickening, you are meant to allow the mixture to simmer for a minute but I accidentally turned the heat completely off, and let the mixture sit there for one minute instead… I guess it still turned out alright?
- Pour into the tart pan and use a knife to even out the top. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to cool and harden.
- Using a stand mixer, whisk your egg whites until you get stiff peaks (i.e. when you lift the paddle attachment up, some of the meringue is ‘standing up’) before adding the white sugar and whisking until you get a smooth and glossy mixture. Yes, you want it to shine!
- Transfer your meringue into a piping bag and pipe it on top of your lemon curd in the tart pan before blowtorching the meringue. This last step is not absolutely necessary but it does make for a lovely finishing touch!
- Leave it overnight to chill completely in your fridge, cut and serve the next morning. Patience!