Friday, 9 May 2008

You Are My Sunshine Tart

Mick loved tarts. And yes, I am referring to the sort you eat with a fork as well as the other variety that don skirts resembling thick belts and walk like they know you are watching them with dirty in your eyes. He was rather disappointed when he missed out on the petit lemon meringue tarts I made for his brother Marc's wake last October and I kept saying I would make him some - but never got around to it, just like the chocolate mousse I promised to make for him since 2006! (Mick, I may be hopeless, but you left me too soon.)

Mick was quite adamant I watch the movie "Waitress" starring Keri Russell (with a poorly mimicked southern accent) as an embittered waitress working at a pie diner owned by an equally cynical old geezer. Mick said she reminded him of me because of the way she named and made pies after circumstances in her life which I thought I would list here for a little chuckle:

I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie (then renamed Bad Baby Pie) Quiche of egg and brie cheese with a smoked ham center
I Hate My Husband Pie “You take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel…”

Baby Screaming It’s Head Off In The Middle Of The Night And Ruining My Life Pie New York style cheesecake, brandy brushed, pecans and nutmeg…

Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie “You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.”

I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong And I Don’t Want Earl To Kill Me Pie “Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana…”

Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie “Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. FlambĂ© of course…”

I have never been in a situation where I have found myself to be miserably pregnant and therefore have never felt any inclination to name my creations in such fashion. However, touched by sentimentalism, I decided to name my lemon meringue tart, the one I never got to share with Mick: You Are My Sunshine Tart. It is corny, I know, but indulge me in my emotional condition. I have a feeling Mick would have preferred it named Lusty Lemon Tart.

Perhaps You Are Lusty, My Sunshine Tart?

Anyway, to make this tart you will need the following recipe:

Lemon meringue tart
200g unsalted butter
40g sugar
80g icing sugar
3g salt
1 large egg
380g flour
lemon curd
4 eggs
250g sugar
160mls lemon juice, strained
zest of 2 lemons
300g unsalted butter, diced
80g egg whites
150g caster sugar
(makes 2 8-inch tarts)
prepare the base the day before by creaming butter, sugars and salt together until well combined before adding the egg. Add flour and incorporate until all the components just come together in a ball. Divide the dough into 2, flatten each portion into a disc, wrap with plastic film and refrigerate.
roll the prepared dough to 3-5mm thickness and line tart ring. Allow to rest for 30 mins.
pre-heat oven to 180C.
blind-bake tart base for 10 minutes, remove pie weights if using and bake base for a further 7 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the base to cool before filling with lemon curd.
prepare the lemon curd by placing the eggs, sugar and lemon juice and zest in a large stainless steel mixing bowl and whisking til sugar dissolves completely.
cook whisking constantly by placing the mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until the bubbles diminish, eventually disappearing and the consistency that of thick sour cream.
remove bowl from heat and at this point you may strain the custard to rid the zest if you want a smoother and more velvety finish. Allow to cool slightly.
whisk diced butter a little at a time. This process thickens and enriches the custard.
prepare meringue by whisking sugar into the egg whites gradually until a shiny and soft-peaked meringue is obtained.
finish by pouring the lemon curd into the prepared tart bases and tap gently to achieve a smooth flat top. Pipe meringue in a decorative fashion and flame gently with a blowtorch. Alternatively, preheat the grill in the oven and heat til a golden brown colour is obtained.


pea & pear said...

Those tarts look absolutley delightful. What a lovely way to honour your friend. You have a gorgeous blog, and a beautiful heart from the sound of your posts.

Li said...

hi pea&pear
thank you very much for your kind remark. Mick was a beautiful person and is a very close friend.