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Baked Lemon Tart with Strawberry Meringue Clouds

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

The Lemon Tart Recipes you want to keep in your log book.


Level: MEDIUM


Got your hands on some lemons and do not know what to do with them? Bake Lemon Tart!


In here I will share with you the go to recipe for a tart base that goes with any type of tart dessert, tips and tricks in making the perfect lemon tart every time as well as the makings of meringues (which is optional and can be made for a totally different occasion.)


Making tart is the best way to start as a basic if you are just starting out your journey in the baking world. It is not intimidating at all. All you need to remember is to not over mix your tart dough, ensure that you par-bake your tart shells before adding in the lemon filling for further baking later on, and do not be tempted to over bake the lemon fillings. Read on below for more tips.


What you will learn


Making basic short crust pastry

Making and baking meringue

Bake lemon filling

Par baking tart shells






RECIPE


Sweet Short Crust


300 g Plain Flour

150 g Unsalted Butter

1/2 Tsp Salt

120 g Icing sugar

90 g / 3 yolks Egg Yolk

1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste

1 Lemon


Method:

1. Dice unsalted butter (cold but not solid)

2. In a stand mixer attached with a paddle, mix the plain flour, salt and unsalted butter at medium speed until the mix resembles a sandy crumbs with no large lump of butter. At this stage, you do not want the mix to form in to a dough.


Note: you can do this step by using your hands, simply rub the butter against the flour until all cold butter cubes are well incorporated with the flour making sure there are no big lumps of butter. - This is call the rub-in method. The final stage is a sandy mixture with no chunks of butter present.

3. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, icing sugar and vanilla bean and stick blend with a hand blender until well incorporated ensuring there are no lumps of sugar. If you do not have a stick blender. simply whisk the ingredients together until fully incorporated.


4. Add the yolk & sugar mix and the lemon zests into the crumbly dough mix.

5. Mix until just come into a dough. Do not over mix to avoid gluten forming.

6. Remove dough from bowl and knead by hand until smooth (do not over knead)

7. Between cling film or parchment paper, gently roll the dough in to a 1 cm thickness disc that is roughly 3 to 4 cm wider than the tart ring (in this recipe, I used a 24 cm diameter x 3 cm in depth tart ring with a removable base)


Cover with cling film/baking paper on both side to avoid it from drying out, rest the rolled out pastry dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Overnight is fine too but make sure that the pastry is not exposed in the fridge or it will dry out.

8. Remove shortcrust from the fridge and let sit at room temperature until soft enough to line into the tart ring.


Line the shortcrust into the tart ring, leaving 1 cm excess above the rim of the of the ring.


Note: I am a tart lover and one of the reasons why I love them so much is because of the sweet shortcrust, which explains why I had mine slightly thicker. You are your own creator so feel free to roll them out thinner if you prefer less crust and more filling. The Lemon Filling in this recipe makes more than you need for one tart because a little extra never hurt and in this circumstance, allows you to have thinner crust that will require more fillings without having to play around too much with the recipe.


Do not spray or oil the tart rings as this can cause the pastry to slide during baking.

9. Wrap the lined tart back into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes or more. (You can place a cling film gently over the top of the pastry before putting it in to the fridge for resting)

10. When the lined tart have rested, remove from the fridge and trim off the excess dough from the edge of the tart rings with a sharp paring knife. Poke a few holes (not too many) with a fork around the base of the pastry.

11. Blind bake the tart base until pale golden at 160 °C. Remove the tart from the oven. If the bottom or side of the dough seems to rise from the baking, gently press the dough flat down or to the side before the tart starts to cool. Be careful not to burn yourself. Then place the tart back into the oven.


Note: This step allows you to avoid having to use any baking beans or rice which sometimes leave creases on the shells and helps save the step of having to remove the tray from the oven halfway through baking to remove the beans/rice.


Alternatively, use baking beans/rice for blind baking.


Tips: Do not over bake your tart shells at this stage as you will be baking them further after you filled them with the lemon filling. This is to avoid the tart shell getting over baked and can get very hard and have a bitter taste to it if burned.


The trick is look for a pale golden (NOT PALE or TOO GOLDEN) colour before removing from the oven.

12. When the tart shells have turned light pale golden in colour, remove from the oven and let it sit at room temperature to slightly cool down. Press down the base or the sides if they are slightly puffed before it cools ( If you are using baking beans/rice, simply remove the beans/rice)


Brush the egg wash on the warm (not too hot) tart shells to seal off the holes and leave aside until ready to use.


Tips: Do not brush egg wash on tart shells that are too hot, or you are going to have scrambled egg bits under your fillings.

13. Once the lemon filling is ready, fill the tart shells and bake further (refer to following instructions)



 

Lemon Filling


Lemon Juice 110 g (2 Large Lemon)

Lemon Zest 2 Lemons

Thicken Cream 150 g

Castor Sugar 195 g

Eggs 225 g

Egg Yolk 20 g



Method:


1. Place all the ingredients in to a jug and stick blend until well incorporated and smooth. Ensure that you do not incorporate too much air in the mix. If you don't have a stick blender, you can gently whisk the ingredients together.


2. Transfer the mix in to a bowl over a double boiler/bain marie. Constantly but gently stir the mix over the hear until it reaches 40°C. By doing that it just reduces the baking time for the curd.


3. Strain the warmed custard mix to remove the zest and air bubbles that may be in the mix. Make sure to strain close to the clean bowl and not far apart. This can create air bubbles. Think of pouring a cup of beer!. oh... I don't really drink. :)


Note: if you see any foggy top or air bubbles, tap the bowl/jug to get rid of the air bubbles. You can also spoon off the foggy layers, but most of the time after it goes in to the oven, the foggy bits will disappear..


4. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Make sure that the oven is not on fan force otherwise the watery mix will start to blow away in the hot oven!


5. Gently pour the lemon filling in to the par-baked tart shells. The best way to do this without the mix spilling over is placing the tray with the tart half way in to the oven leaning on the oven rack while pouring the mix in. Please be careful not to burn your hand from the oven!


6. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or when you gently move the tray, the lemon filling is firm but still slightly wobbly. Do not be tempted to over bake the tart fillings. Once it seems firm and jiggly, remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing it from the tart ring. The cooling will further set the lemon filling.


Note: If you are using a deeper tart rings, the baking time may take longer and vice versa.


TIP: If you are doing this for the first time, the ideal inner temperature should be 70°C when you probe a thermometer in to the mix. I find that if you probe a thermometer in to the mix when it is almost ready, the filling will start to crack a little when cooled. You can do this step if you are not too fuss about the tiny crack or will be topping fruits on top of your tart that will cover the cracks anyway.



 


Strawberry Meringue


Egg Whites 150 g

Icing Sugar 150 g

Cream of Tartar 1 tsp

Freeze dried Strawberry For dusting




Method:


1. Start by placing the egg whites and cream of tartar in to a clean grease free mixer bowl with the whisk attachment.


2. Start whisking on medium speed until there are no visible liquid whites. Gradually sprinkle in the caster sugar and keep whisking until it reaches medium peak. Increase the speed of the mixer and whisk until stiff peak forms.


3. Preheat oven to 100°C.


4. Spread the meringue in to thin sheets and bake for 1 hour or more depending on the humidity on the day you are making it.


If you want to make a blob of meringue, simply spoon with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Note that the larger the meringue is, the longer this will take to dry out.


5. Once the meringue are ready, dust with freeze dried strawberry and let cool before placing on top of the chilled lemon tart.


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. The shortcrust recipe is so versatile it is my go to pastry for any type of sweet tart desserts. :)