Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Lemon meringue tart

Delicious!!! Yum, yum yum. Took a while to put together, but well worth it - I made the pastry base when both boys were out, and then made the lemon filling and meringue topping when they were both around. I needed Leigh's extra pair of hands for the last 2 stages to help manage the children (!) but it wasn't too complex, just lots of little stages.

Only 2 notes to make - I misread the ingredients for the pastry and mixed together a whole egg with 2 tbspns water, rather than just the yolk. So there I was feeling all superior that although the recipe appeared to instruct the use of all the liquid in the pastry mix, I had realised this would be far too much and used just under half, when Leigh came along and burst my bubble, pointing out the actual listed ingredient! Ooops.

And I also had a bit of an issue with leaking after it came out of the oven (no,not me personally - the pie!). As the pie was cooling, a clear syrupy liquid started leaking out from the base of the tin. Leigh had a look on Nigella.com which suggested that this can happen with meringues on lemon meringue pie (here), although when we cut the pie open, it looked more as though it was the lemon filling which was weeping sugar syrup. Not sure why this happened - my tin was slightly larger than described in the recipe, although it's not very deep, so I thought the 2 would compensate for each other. I shall have to investigate...

Here we are going into the oven

out of the oven

and a cut slice - I was convinced it wasn't going to set properly, but it came out really well and the filling was lovely and smooth - fortunately no scrambled eggs!

(the Great British Book of Baking)

Pastry :
175g plain flour
a good pinch of salt
1 tbspn caster sugar
115g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 medium egg yolk mixed with 2 tbspn ice-cold water

Lemon Filling :
3 medium unwaxed lemons
40g cornflour
300ml water
3 medium egg yolks
85g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, diced

Meringue Topping :
4 medium egg whites
200g caster sugar

22cm loose-based deep flan tin and a baking tray (I greased my tin)

To make the pastry in food processor, put the flour, salt and sugar into the processor bowl and pulse until just combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. With the machine running, add the yolk mixture (yep, you would have thought that this sentence would have given the game away, but still I didn't realise!) and process until the dough comes together. If there are dry crumbs, add some water a tspn at a time until you have a slightly firm dough.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 20 mins, then roll out on a lightly floured surface (or using the double clingfilm technique!) to a circle about 28cm across and use to line the flan tin. Prick the base with a fork then chill for 15 minutes (this allows the dough to relax after it has been handled and reduces the risk of shrinking in the oven). Heat the oven to 190C (I set my fan oven to 175C)/375F/gas 5. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for about 15 minutes until lightly golden and just firm. Remove the paper and beans, lower the oven temperature to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the base is crisp and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while making the filling. Leave the oven on and put the baking tray in to heat.

Rinse the lemons, then grate the zest into a heatproof bowl. Add the juice and cornflour and stir to make a smooth paste (mine was still quite liquid at this stage and I thought I'd have trouble later, but it thickened up perfectly). Bring the water to a boil in a medium pan and pour it on to the lemon mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When thoroughly combined, pour the mixture back into the pan and cook, stirring continuously until it boils and thickens (I don't know whether I had the hob too high, but it thickened REALLY quickly after I put it back in the pan and almost took me by surprise). Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring, for a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the egg yolks, quickly followed by the butter and sugar. Spoon the filling into the pastry case and spread evenly.

Put the 4 egg whites into a large bowl and whisk until they stand in soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar to make a stiff glossy meringue. Pile the meringue on top of the lemon filling so it is totally covered. Stand the tart on the hot baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, until the meringue is a golden brown. Leave to cool, then unmould and serve at room temperature.

1 comment:

Niles said...

Gah, we missed lemon meringue pie?!

The risotto was lovely!