Classic Lemon Meringue Tart

I already have a recipe for Lime-Basil Meringue tart on my blog. And I did debate whether to post another citrus-meringue recipe. In the end I did decide to post this recipe since it contains some tips and tricks that I have picked up while undertaking my baking course. In fact, this tart I made as an assignment for my week 2 of the tart month (second month of classes). This was also the month when I made my first tart in a square tart form and to be honest – I totally enjoyed working with it. Square tarts here I come!

The recipe does have a number of components but they can be prepared in advance . I do not have step-by-step pictures for this recipe and therefore, I will try to explain everything in as much detail as I can. But if you have any questions or would like me to take a look at some pictures do get in touch with me.

Ingredients:

For the tart shell:

  1. 250g flour
  2. 150g cold butter (cubed)
  3. 95g icing sugar
  4. 3g salt
  5. 30g almond flour
  6. 1 egg (cold)
  7. vanilla bean
  8. zest of 2 lemons

For the frangipane:

  1. 60g almond flour
  2. 60g sugar
  3. 60g butter (room temperature)
  4. 20g flour
  5. 1 egg (room temperature)
  6. zest of 1 lemon
  7. 10g limoncello (optional)
  8. 100g creme patissiere

For the creme patissiere:

  1. 500g milk
  2. 90g egg yolks
  3. 100g sugar
  4. 45g corn starch
  5. vanilla bean

For the lemon cream:

  1. 135g eggs
  2. 150g sugar
  3. 110g lemon juice
  4. 200g butter (cold and cubed)
  5. zest of 3 lemons

For the Italian meringue:

  1. 100g egg whites
  2. 300g sugar
  3. 100g water

 

Instructions:

Like I said, there is quite a number of steps to this recipe, but think about it this way – you will be able to separate the preparation of the tart over a number of stages, and potentially over a number of days, which will make the task of preparing this tart less daunting.

  1. Let’s start by making the tart shell. I have been using my new standing mixer quite a lot and have been making the dough there as well (to ensure that I do not over-work the dough when making it manually). In a bowl combine flour, icing sugar, salt, almond flour, vanilla seeds, lemon zest (ensure that you use fresh zest – that will it will retain the most flavor) and cubed butter.  Start mixing until the mixture reaches the consistency of sand and does not have visible pieces of butter.

2. Once the mixture resembles sand, add the egg and mix until the dough just starts taking shape.  Tip the mixture out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and using your hands mix the mixture until it has been combined into a ball. Make sure not to mix too much, since then the dough will be overworked and it will lose its properties once baked (it will not have that nice and crumbly texture).

3. Now using 2 pieces of baking paper, roll out the dough (placed between the 2 sheets of baking paper) to the thickness of approximately 2-3mm. Make sure to roll from the center to the sides to ensure that the dough is evenly rolled out.

4. Place to chill and rest in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour (and even better to let the dough rest overnight).

5. While the dough is resting lets move on to making creme patissiere (this will be used in our frangipane). In a pan combine milk with half the sugar and vanilla seeds (put in the vanilla pod as well). Bring the mixture to boil and immediately remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes.

6. When time elapses bring the milk mixture to boil once again. In the meantime, in a separate bowl combine egg yolk with corn starch and the remaining sugar.  Mix vigorously to ensure that the mixture is fully combined. Do not make this mixture with egg yolk and sugar until you are about to use it, otherwise you are running a risk that the egg yolks will “burn”.

7. Once the milk mixture reaches boiling point, pour a little bit of the milk mixture over the egg yolk mixture and mix vigorously. Once well combined, add the egg yolk mixture into the milk mixture and start mixing with a whisk on low/medium-low heat.  Once the mixture begins to thicken up take the pan off the heat and continue mixing to ensure that there are no clumps and the mixture looks shiny, return to heat and continue mixing for another minute or so (this is to ensure that no trace of flavor of corn starch remains and the egg yolks are pasteurized).  Move the mixture into a container and cover with cling film so that cling film touches the cream and place in the fridge to cool down completely.

8. Once the creme patissiere has cooled down you can move on to preparing frangipane. In this recipe frangipane will be used to ensure that the tart stays crispy and does not absorb moisture from the lemon cream (we will get to making the lemon cream next).

9. Whisk together the softened butter (do not microwave it, it simply has to be room temperature) with sugar, then add egg, almond flour, and lemon zest. Make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated but do not whisk too vigorously, since the more you mix the frangipane mixture the more it will rise while cooking.

10. Add the sieved flour and mix, then add 100g of creme patissiere, again mix everything until well incorporated and the mixture has even consistency. Place the mixture into a piping bag and place in the fridge. You can actually separate the mixture into a number of piping bags and freeze the leftovers.

11. We can now move onto making the lemon cream. In a bowl whisk together eggs with sugar until combined and then add lemon juice. Place on bain-marie (over a pot of boiling water), continue whisking and measure the temperature of the mixture, you are looking for it to reach 82-83c. Please do not try to judge the temperature “by eye”, you really need a thermometer here, since if you overheat the mixture it will get a very unpleasant egg taste. Once the mixture reaches the required temperature remove the bowl from heat and immediately transfer the mixture into a different container (so it does not continue to heat up from the pan). Once it cools down to approximately 40c add butter and lemon zest and using a hand-held mixer puree the mixture until it is nice and shiny and is of even consistency.

12. While we have been working on various creams, the dough should be sufficiently rested. Take it out of the fridge, peel off the baking paper from both sides, then slightly dust your work surface with flour and line your tart form. If you are using a round form – cut out a round circle slightly larger than the form and then place the circle into the form ensuring that you press well into the bottom and sides of the tart form. If you are using a square tart form, then line the bottom and then line the sides with strips of dough separately. I am not going to spend too much time describing the exact process here, but if you have any questions about lining your tart forms do get in touch with me.

13. Once the forms have been lined, prick the base with a fork (make sure to hold the fork completely vertically) and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour. Once the dough has rested pre-heat the oven to 160-170c. Bake the tart for 5 minutes initially, then take it out and carefully run a small knife between the dough and the sides of the tart form (this will ensure that when the dough shrinks – which will inevitably happen – the tart will not loose its form), be very careful when doing this, since the dough will be quite raw at this stage.

14. Spread a very thin layer of frangipane over the base of the tart – ensure that you are spreading a very thin layer, since frangipane will rise when cooked. And place the tart back in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on your oven, you have to see that the tart shell browns up, is cooked through and the frangipane is cooked.

15. Once the tarts have cooked through, take them out, let them cool for approximately 5 minutes and remove the tart forms (they should come off rather easily). And let them cool down completely before you fill them in.

16. Once the tarts have cooled off fill them in with lemon cream and top with Italian meringue (or chocolate like I did with small tartlets below).

17. To prepare Italian meringue: place the egg whites into a bowl of the standing mixer, turn the mixer on the slowest speed (we are not whipping the egg whites yet, but simply trying to make them more liquid).

18. At the same time in a pan combine water and sugar (first place the water and then sugar) and start bringing the mixture to boil. You will once again need a sugar thermometer for this stage of the process. Once the mixture reaches the temperature of 115c, increase the speed of the standing mixer to medium/medium high to start whipping the egg whites. Here you will have to monitor the egg whites and at the same time the temperature of the sugar syrup. You are looking for the syrup to reach the temperature of 124c and at the same time all the egg whites must turn into white froffy mass. If you egg whites have reached the required consistency but the sugar syrup has not reached the required temperature yet – turn the speed of the standing mixer to the lowest setting. Alternatively, if the sugar syrup is ready but egg whites are not – add a couple of drops of cold water to the sugar syrup.

19. Once the sugar syrup has reached the required temperature (and the egg white mass is froffy) take the pan with the sugar syrup off the heat and let the bubbling subside for a minute or two and then with the standing mixer running pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites (pour slowly by steadily so it runs over the side of the bowl, do not pour directly over the whisk). Continue beating until the mixture has cooled off to room temperature and the meringue is nice and glossy and stiff peaks form.

20. The Italian meringue is now ready to use. I used a St Honore piping nozzle to create the design on my tart, but you can be as creative as you want/or not.

Enjoy! Do not forget to follow me on Instagram @thelondolgal for more baking pictures.

I have also attached a picture of a couple of smaller tarts I made with chocolate drizzle.

 

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