Tag Archives: meringue

Lemon Tartlets with a Meringue Topping and the Chocolate Alternative*** for my aunt Nadine

3 Jun

On the 3rd of June, it is my cousin Thibaud’s birthday and as usual, we had bought plenty of meat to put on the BBQ, plenty of fresh fruits to watch our diet…. but no cakes for the occasion. Also, I have to say that our countryside is great for meat, cheese or other savory specialties but when it comes to cakes…. it is not that easy to find something appealing.

Then I remembered that he once told me that he likes lemon tart…. I quickly checked that my uncle Daniel did not used all the lemons for the oyster feast they made and I started it.

As I did not have a lot of eggs as well as a lot of time, I stuck to the chocolate variation that is always a great surprise if you prepare the tart properly. Which means that you properly cover the chocolate layer with lemon curd in order to surprise your guests.

It seems to have worked once again as my aunt Nadine asked me to hurry up and write the recipe on my blog!

Then here we are…. there is no more secrets for you!

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SWEET PASTRY DOUGH (Makes 1 large tart or 8 individuals)*

  • 250g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 125g of butter cold and diced
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Plain flour to roll out the dough
  • Iced water if necessary

*To make your pastry more original, you can add spices or flavor to it. For example, I add a tbsp of poppy seeds, a gratted lemon zest, a tsp of ginger, cinnamon or sometimes I put only 180g of flour and 70g of almond powder. It will make the difference….!

METHOD**

By hand: Place the flour, icing sugar, salt and cold diced butter in a bowl and start bringing the ingredients together until they form a light bread crumb consistency.  Now, add the egg and combine completely. Add a little water if the dough is to dry. Form a ball with the pastry and wrap it in cling film. Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This freezes beautifully.

With a Magimix: Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and add the cold diced butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg and add to the pastry mixture and stir well to bring together, adding a little more iced water if necessary.  Bring the pastry together into a flat disc, wrap it with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.

Once the pastry is firm enough to roll out, sift a little flour on a clean surface and on your rolling pin and start rolling out your dough until it is 3-4mm thick. As the dough is very fragile, you can either fold it from the center into 4 like a “crepe” or roll it gently on your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pastry case.

Once it is on top of your pastry case, press gently towards the bottom of the case so that the dough perfectly fits to the pastry case. Remove the excess of dough using a sharp knife around the edges of the case or simply roll once the rolling pin on top of the case. The excess will fall in a very clean way.

In a preheated oven (200°) bake the pastry case blind for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and let it cool down on a rack.

** As usual, if you are in a hurry, you can use a ready to roll sweet pastry, it will save you a little time. You’ll just have to go straight to the baking instruction.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON CURD

  • 240g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 16cl lemon juice
  • 300g butter

METHOD
Whisk together the sugar and the eggs, add the lemon juice and zest. Cook in a bain-marie until it gets a nice thick consistency (about 40 min).
Turn off the fire and add the butter to the mix. Let it cool down then pour it in the baked pastry.

To make it smoother, you can mix it with a hand blender.

If you prepare it in advance, cover it with cling film to avoid it from getting a nasty crust on top.


INGREDIENTS FOR THE MERINGUE

  • 3 egg whites
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 7cl of water for the method 2

METHOD 1 with uncooked sugar… the easy one

Pour the egg whites in the bowl of the Kitchen Aid and start whisking until it gets foamy then add half of the sugar and keep on whisking. When it gets thick, add the remaining sugar and keep on whisking until it forms soft peak. The meringue is shiny and firm.

METHOD 2 with cooked sugar

Pour the sugar and water in a pan and place it on a medium fire. Plunge a thermometer in the pan and keep an eye on it. Once the syrup starts to boil and reaches 117°, take the pan off the fire and plunge its bottom in cold water to stop the syrup from cooking further. You may have to brush the edges of your pan with a pastry brush if some sugar grains stick to it.

Start to whisk the egg whites until it gets firm then pour slowly the syrup on the edges of the bowl while it’s still whisking on a medium speed. The meringue will get a shiny and silky appearance. Keep on whisking til the meringue completely cools down.

With a spatula or a piping bag, pour some of the meringue on top of the lemon tartlets.

Use a torch to create the nice burnt aspect on the surface of the meringue. Alternatively you can place it under the grill for a very short time (depending on the power of your grill it may take a few seconds til 2-3 minutes).

***CHOCOLATE VARIATION

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CHOCOLATE VARIATION

  • 150g of dark chocolate
  • 60g of butter or double cream

METHOD FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE

In a bain-marie, melt the butter or cream and chocolate together.

As it is still hot, cover the bottom of your baked pastry case with it and let it cool down.

Then pour the lemon curd on top of it with a spatula and put it back in the fridge until it is time to serve it.

1-Chocolate and Lemon TartIMG_1123 2-MeringueIMG_1134IMG_1135

Most of the time, I do not put meringue on top as the combination of lemon and chocolate is really great just like that.

IMG_1137 IMG_1139

Lemon and Meringue Pie with a Poppy Seeds Shortcrust Pastry

11 Jan

As a kid, I have always been impressed by the texture of the meringue covering the lemon pies that my mum is fond of.

As an adult, I have tried to understand that mystery and I have rolled my sleeves many times to get to the right result.

There is so many recipes for the lemon and meringue pie…. the lemon curd can be cooked in the oven or in a bain-marie, the meringue can be french or italian, you can also have two types of lemon curds in the same tart…..

As I tried many recipes, I ended up with my own recipe which is a selection of my favorites elements picked in each recipe.

I added poppy seeds and lemon zest to the sweet pastry to make it more tasty and give it some extra crunch!

I have chosen Eric Kayser lemon curd for the filling of the tart because his recipe is tasty and simple in term of ingredients and technique.

And for the meringue, I finally tried the Italian meringue and I have to say…. the consistency is much better. Because the sugar is cooked, the meringue is dense and firm and very important, if you keep your tart in the fridge, it will hold perfectly. 


INGREDIENTS FOR THE POPPY SEED AND LEMON PASTRY DOUGH (Makes 1 large tart or 8 individuals)

  • 250g of flour
  • 5g of salt
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp of poppy seeds
  • 1 lemon zest finely grated
  • 125g of butter cold and diced
  • 1 egg whisked
  • Plain flour to roll out the dough
  • Iced water if necessary

INGREDIENTS FOR THE LEMON CURD

  • 1 unwaxed lemon zest and juice
  • 240g of caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 300g of butter cold and diced

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ITALIAN MERINGUE

  •   4 egg whites
  • 250 g of caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 cl of waterof caster sugar

METHOD FOR THE SWEET PASTRY

By hand: Place the flour, icing sugar, salt, poppy seeds, lemon zest and cold diced butter in a bowl and start bringing the ingredients together until they form a light bread crumb consistency.  Now, add the egg and combine completely. Add a little water if the dough is to dry. Shape the pastry into a bowl slightly flatten and wrap it into cling film. Let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.  This freezes beautifully.

With a Magimix: Sift the flour, salt, poppy seeds, lemon zest and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor and add the cold diced butter.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Whisk the egg and add to the pastry mixture and stir well to bring together, adding a little more iced water if necessary.  Bring the pastry together into a flat disc and wrap it into cling film. Chill it for 30 minutes before rolling out.

To roll the pastry, dust a clean and wide enough surface with flour and place the dough in the middle of it and start rolling until you get a dough 2-3 mm wide.

Check that it’s big enough to fit into your case. To do that, place the case in the middle of the dough. There must be enough dough all around to cover more than the edges of the case.

Now roll it on your rolling pin and unroll it on top of the pastry case or fold it into 4 and unfold it on top of the pastry case. Gently push the dough at the bottom of the case and press it with the back of your fingers to make it fit perfectly in the pastry case.


Put it back in the fridge or the freezer for at least 30 minutes. It will prevent the dough from shrinking when you blind bake it in the oven!

In a preheated oven (200°) blind bake the pastry case for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the edges and at the bottom as it won’t go back to the oven.  Remove the shell from the case and let it cool down on a rack.

METHOD FOR THE LEMON CURD

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Once it’s getting white and foamy, add the lemon zest finely grated and the juice.

Put the bowl on top of a bain-marie and cook the lemon curd until it gets thick and creamy. This process may take a while (30-40 minutes) and you HAVE to keep on whisking the curd all along!

If you feel confident enough, you can skip the bain-marie step and cook it in the pan at a lower temperature but be careful as the curd can easily burn!

Once the lemon curd is cooked, take it off the fire and incorporate the diced butter. Mix it until completely incorporated.

Pour the lemon curd in the tart shell and let it cool down.

METHOD FOR THE ITALIAN MERINGUE
Pour the sugar and the water in a medium pan and start to cook gently. The sugar will melt and turn into syrup. If needed, brush the edges of the pan with a pastry or silicon brush to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
Using a thermometer, bring it to a boil and keep cooking it until it reach 121°.

At that step, if your egg whites are already whisked with the pinch of salt, pour the syrup slowly on the edges of the bowl while it’s still whisking.

Otherwise, plunge the bottom of your pan in very cold water to stop the cooking of the syrup. While the syrup is cooling down, pour your egg whites and the pinch of salt in the bowl of your Kitchen Aid and whisk them until firm then pour slowly the syrup on the edges of the bowl while it’s still whisking.

The egg whites will become thight and silky. Keep on whisking until the meringue cools down.

You can either pour the meringue in a piping bag with the nozzle of your choice and pipe it on top of the lemon curd otherwise you can spoon it straight away and create nice shapes with the back of your spoon.


Here you are…. Almost done!

Let’s have fun with the blow torch now and give the meringue peaks a nice dark brown colour. To do that, use the blow torch as if it was a brush and quickly bring it close to your meringue without touching it.
If you don’t have a blow torch, you can obtain the same result with the grill of your oven but be careful, depending on the oven, it can take only a few seconds!