Lemon Meringue Tarts
Prep 40min (+ pastry making time)Bake 35minMakes 10
Italian meringue makes an elegant topping for these classic tarts. You can caramelize the meringue lightly with a blow torch to add a delicate, slightly burnt caramel flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue and sourness of the lemon filling if you wish.
1 quantity Sweet Shortcrust Pastry, rolled into a log about 15cm long before wrapping and chilling as directed
Icing sugar (optional), to sprinkle
Cream or ice cream, to serve
110g (½ cup) caster sugar
125ml (½ cup) pouring (thin) cream
100ml strained fresh lemon juice
Italian Meringue4 egg whites, at room temperature
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
60ml (¼ cup) water
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut into 10 even slices. Gently pat a pastry portion on a lightly floured benchtop with the palm of your hand to fatten slightly. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to a disc about 3mm thick. Line a 6.5cm (base measurement), 2cm deep, tart tin with removable base, with the pastry, pressing it into the side and corners with your thumb and/or fingertips. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim any excess pastry. Repeat with the remaining pastry portions to make 10 tart cases in total.
Place the tart cases on an oven tray. Use a fork to prick the pastry base of each about 4 times. Line the pastry cases with squares of greaseproof paper or foil and fill with pastry weights, dried beans or raw rice, making sure they press into the corners and fill the cases. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the tart cases from the oven and use the paper or the foil to remove the weights from the cases. Return the cases to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is just cooked through and looks dry.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, use a fork to whisk the eggs, sugar, cream and lemon juice together until well combined. Strain the mixture into a jug. Pour the filling into the hot pastry cases while still in the oven (see Baker's Tips), dividing evenly. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the filling has just set in the centre but still wobbles slightly when shaken. Cool the tarts in the tins.
To make the Italian Meringue, put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, occasionally brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the syrup reaches hard ball stage (120°C on a sugar thermometer).
Meanwhile, just before the syrup is ready, whisk the egg whites on high speed until firm peaks form. Remove the syrup from the heat and stand for a bout 1 minute or until the bubble subside. With the motor running on high speed, gradually add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream until all the syrup has been incorporated. Continue to whisk on medium speed for another 10 minutes or until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
Spoon the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a #13 (1.3cm) plain or #11 (1.1cm) star nozzle. Pipe small rounds of meringue over the surface of the tarts to cover. Use a blow torch to lightly caramelize the meringue if desired.
Dust with icing sugar, if desired and serve with cream or ice cream.
- Adding the filling to the pastry cases while still sitting in the oven will mean you can fill the tarts completely and minimise the chance of it spilling when transferring it to the oven.
- These tarts will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days (although the pastry will soften slightly on keeping). Bring to room temperature to serve.