A Parisian-inspired recipe
Down the cobbled side streets of Paris you'll find some of the best cafes in France serving delicious fresh pastries like the delicate millefeuille and the zesty tarte au citron. If you're dreaming of sipping a cafe au lait in the city of love right now, why not try whipping up this refreshing lemon meringue tart recipe from Connor, our Head Chef at Town+House pub by Always Sunday. It's sure to brighten your day.
For the sweet pastry:
250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
120g cold cubed butter
1 egg whole
For the lemon curd:
4 eggs separated (save the whites for the meringue)
100g caster sugar
3 large lemons
75g butter, cubed at room temperature
For the meringue:
4 egg whites (use the leftover from the curd recipe)
200g caster sugar
For the pastry:
1. Sieve the flour, sugar and salt together into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add in the butter and begin rubbing it into the flour mixture to create a breadcrumb consistency. It’s important to try and ensure that your hands are as cold as possible to allow the butter to incorporate without melting, if you have a food processor, you can use this for a very similar result.
3. Next create a well in your crumbed mixture, whisk the egg completely and pour into the well.
4. Using a butter knife, start to bring in the dry mix to the centre of the well - this allows the mixture to be worked without adding heat.
5. Once the mix has come together, use your hands to lightly knead the dough until it forms up and is smooth.
6. Flatten the dough into a disc that is around an inch thick, cover in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
7. Once rested, roll the dough out to around 2mm thick and using a fluted pastry cutter, cut out the cases.
8. Lay your disks in a greased muffin tin and prick each one with a fork all over.
9. Using baking beans, blind bake for 10 minutes on 180, then uncover and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Allow these to cool at room temperature.
For the lemon curd:
1. Combine the yolks, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk the mixture until it is light and foamy and all the sugar has been dissolved.
2. In a pan over a medium to low heat, gradually heat the mixture, stirring constantly to avoid overcooking the eggs.
3. When you notice the curd getting thicker, at this point you can start adding the butter, a cube at a time, until it is fully combined. If you add it too quickly, the mix will split so take your time.
4. Once the butter has all been incorporated continue stirring and thickening. The mix is done when you can coat the back of a spoon and scrape a clear line in the curd. Alternatively, you can use a food thermometer, which needs to get to 82°C.
5. Allow the curd to cool slightly and then evenly fill your cases.
For the meringue:
1. In a mixing bowl (best to use the bowl of a stand mixer), combine the sugar and egg whites.
2. Over a pan of simmering water, place the mixing bowl so it does not touch the water.
3. Constantly stirring, heat the egg white/ sugar combination until the sugar is dissolved and the eggs are very warm to the touch.
4. Then using a balloon whisk attachment, beat the meringue until it reaches stiff peaks and the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch.
5. Transfer your meringue into a piping bag and top off your lemon tarts with little iced gem style peaks across the whole tart. Using a blow torch, you can brown the tips of the meringue for an extra touch.
Enjoy with a cafe au lait during a quiet moment to yourself or serve this at a Parisian-inspired brunch with coffee and fresh croissants or after a cheesy croque madame.