RECIPE: Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts by Leanne Beck, on MiNDFOOD.
Handmade French-inspired pastries and pies fill the window of Leanne Beck’s store, Sweet Infinity, in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Tempting the likes of Russell Crowe, Sweet Infinity’s delicious delights include Caramel Slice, Tiramisu, Brownies and Pumpkin & Fetta pie.
However, Leanne Beck’s specialty would have to be her Lemon Meringue Tart, a combination of a wafer-thin darkly cooked pastry, soft tangy citrus filling and feather light meringue – here is the recipe.
Makes 24 mini tarts
350 grams egg whites
750 grams sugar
1 Place the egg whites and gradually add sugar in a container and cook over a bainmarie (fill a large and deep pot with boiling water and place the smaller one within it).
2 Gently whisk until it is light in colour and all the sugar is melted through – you should not be able to see any of the sugar granules and it should strain through your whisk. During this process, make sure that the mixture does not get too hot – you should be able to touch it without flinching.
3 Place the blend in a mixer and whisk (you could also use an egg-beater) to a hard peak – the mixture should cling in large parts around the whisk.
12 whole eggs
290 grams castor sugar
310 ml lemon Juice (fresh is best but remember to strain through all of the pulp)
500 grams unsalted butter
1 Mix the juice, sugar and eggs in a heavy based pot and whisk as you bring it to the boil.
2 Remove from heat and add cold lumps of butter and blend through.
3 Put the mixture in the fridge until it sets – it will be ready when it is cold and has a similar consistency to butter.
Sweet Tart Base
1.2 kilos of butter
600 grams of icing sugar
12 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
1.8 kilos plain flour
1 Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs together and place aside.
2 In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and the icing sugar – be careful not to over mix your ingredients (don’t use an electronic mixture, just hand mix).
3 Add the egg yolk to the butter mixture and stir-through. Slowly add the plain flour and knead through to create a doughy bundle.
4 Bundle and store in fridge, preferably overnight.
5 Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees and coat your baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Roll out your dough so that it is about 2 CM thick and use it to line your tray.
6 Place in oven and blind cook it. Take it out when it is golden brown and let it cool.
Putting it all together
1 Fill the pastry base with the lemon mixture 2/3’s of the way up.
2 Pipe the meringue mixture on top and then blow torch it until it is golden brown on top – you can purchase mini kitchen blow torches from The Chefs Warehouse, this truly achieves the best results as placing in the oven or under the grill can cause the meringue to collapse.