I have been making these tarts, been requested to make these tarts for a long time. Believe it or not, I don’t really have a sweet tooth. Give me a cheese board and some dried fruit at the end of a meal or a creme’ brûlée (which I don’t think is an overly sweet desert, if it is made properly and I often don’t eat the sugar top) and I am a happy girl. I will always lean toward the citrus, cheese end of the sweet spectrum, so a good lemon tart is hard to find. It is important to make sure that you use good quality lemons in the recipe… You can use that pre-packaged lemon juice, but because it isn’t as tart, the tart just won’t be as tart! 🙂
This recipe is based on the Woman’s Weekly “Sweet Old Fashioned Favourites” Cookbook. If you can get a hold of a copy of this book, you will be pleasantly delighted at all the hidden gems that you will find in this fabulous stroll down memory lane.
Lemon Tarts/Lemon Meringue/Pie
1 ½ cups of plain flour (220g)
3 teaspoon of icing sugar
140g butter (softened)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of water (approximately)
(This is enough pastry for one large pie or 24 small tarts)
½ Cup Cornflour (65g)
1 Cup of Castor Sugar (100g)
1 Cup of Lemon Juice (250g)(if you want it more lemony add more juice and less water)
1 Cup of water (250g)
2 Teaspoons of Grated Lemon Rind
3 Egg Yolks
60g Unsalted Butter
(This is enough filling for one large pie or 24 small tarts)
4 Egg Whites (3 from the filling and 1 from the pastry)
½ cup of Castor Sugar
(This is enough meringue for one large pie or 24 small tarts)
Method – Pastry
If you are pushed for time you could buy the pre made large sweet pastry case or 24 small pastry cases from your supermarket or even frozen pastry, but it would just be for the convenience as the pastry tastes average and it can be full of lots of nasties.
1. Lightly grease a flan tin or 24 small flan tins or a muffin tray.
2. Sift flour and icing sugar into a bowl and rub butter into flour mixture.
3. Add in egg yolk and enough water to form mixture into a soft dough ball, gently knead in a floured surface, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 – 60 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
5. When dough is rested, roll out (if you roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper it may make it easier) to cover pie dish or cut into small cases to fit individual trays/tins.
(At this point you can freeze the pastry cases for later. This is a great thing to do if you have time and freezer space, because the filling doesn’t take long at all, so you can have lemon tarts in about 15 minutes if the pastry is already prepared!)
6. Line large pastry case with baking paper and fill with dry rice or blind baking beads and blind bake for 10 minutes, remove baking paper and beads and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. If you are making small individual case, just place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. When they come out of the oven just gently press down the middle of the pastry case with the back of a spoon.
7. Allow to cool to room temperature, while making filling.
Method – Filling
1. Into a bowl place lemon rind, egg yolks, and softened butter ready to place into the next stage.
2. Combine cornflour and sugar in a pan and gradually add in water and lemon juice stirring until smooth.
3. Stir mixture over heat until the mixture boils and thickens… you must stay at the pot and keep stirring the whole time…DONT LEAVE IT as it may then thicken quickly and get lumpy.
4. When thickened, keep stirring and cooking for another 30 – 60 seconds, this allows the cornflour to really cook out.
5. Remove from heat and quickly stir in rind, yolks and butter.
6. Immediately pour into prepared pastry. If you leave it the lemon mixture will start to set and your tarts will not look smooth and professional.
7. If you would like, top with Meringue and then you have Lemon Meringue Tarts, otherwise this are delicious with just lemon!
Method – Meringue
1. Beat egg whites until they form into firm peaks, then gradually add sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time and continue beating until all sugar has been dissolved into the meringue.
2. Pipe or place on top of the tarts and gently cook with a home blow torch!
Method – Pastry
1. Add all ingredients to the mixing bowl (only 1 tablespoon of water) mix 10 – 15 seconds/speed 5 until mixture is well combined adding extra water if needed.
2. Roll ingredients into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
3. Take out pastry roll and use as desired.
Method – Filling
1. Pre mill zest and sugar separately if desired and set aside.
2. To mixing bowl add cornflour, castor sugar, lemon juice and water and cook 8 minutes/100 degrees/ speed 2.
3. Add butter, zest and yolks and mix 60 seconds/50 degrees/speed 3
4. Immediately pour lemon mixture into tarts. It sets very quickly so you need to pour it into the case/s very quickly or it will turn into a glumly mess and look terrible. It will still taste good, but not look as nice
5. Top with Meringue if desired (follow below instructions) and eat!
Ingredients – Meringue
4 Egg Whites
120g castor sugar (pre-milled)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1 pinch of cream of tartar
Method – Meringue
1. Place butterfly onto blade and whisk egg whites with lemon juice and cream of tartar until dry and stiff firm peaks form 4 minutes/50 degrees/speed 2.5 with MC removed.
2. Turn Thermomix onto speed 2 and add 1 Tablespoon of sugar every 30 seconds. Add Vanilla then keep mixing at speed 2 until you can not feel any sugar in the meringue when you rub it between your fingers, a total of approximately 10 minutes. You may need to stop every minute or so and make sure that all the sugar is going into the bowl and not onto the butterfly or blade.
3. Pipe or place meringue on top of the tarts and gently cook with a home blow torch!
I often don’t make the meringue as this is a wonderful lemon tart and tastes great without it… but trust the Swiss to come up with the only way to make a lemon tart taste better… Yes that is right the Swiss are attributed with making this delicious combination! So how ever you choose to make this dish; 1 large pie; tartlets; with meringue; without… I’m sure you will still love the fantastic flavour combinations! So have fun!