- Tereza Novakova
Lemon tart with meringue
Are you missing summer as much as I am? It's really crazy, as much as I love all about snow during holidays, once holidays are over, I just want the sun to be out and snow to go away. Well, I should have picked a different country rather than Canada but Eh! what can I do, I love it here. At least, I can have a little reminder of summer with this zingy lemon tart with fluffy meringue.
This recipe is really easy to make, however, it seems it's super easy to f*ck up as well 😂 The first time I made it for the photos, it was all beautiful. The lemon curd came out just PERFECT, the tart crust was flawless, the meringue was all fluffy... until I put the whole thing into the oven to caramelize the meringue. No, I don't have (yet) the torch that would make my life soooo much easier. So... in this case, no need to panic, right? You can just put the tart into the oven under "broil" for a minute or two... Turns out, the minute or two made the whole difference. A minute is not enough, two is charcoal too much 😂 So, let the girl give you a tip - before applying the meringue, put the tart into the freezer for at least 15 min, then after applying the meringue, the first time (if you don't have the torch), put it under the broil for 30 seconds. If it's not enough, put it back for another 10 and then just take it out and put back for another 10 seconds if needed. It will save you from a catastrophe. On the second try, it took me a minute and 10 seconds for the perfect caramelization. Also, when I tasted it without being caramelized, it's just as good so if you are not having guests over and you are just making it for yourself, save yourself the pain and just leave the meringue without caramelization 😊
You will need:
For the lemon curd:
1 cup sugar
1 cup plant-based milk
2 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1 tsp turmeric
For the tart crust:
75g plant-based butter
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the meringue:
1/4 cup aquafaba
1/2 cup icing sugar
dash of vanilla extract (less than a tsp)
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Vegan meringue can be achieved so easily! Just use aquafaba, water from the chickpea can. When you make your hummus or any other recipe with chickpea, save this precious liquid! Also, I would really recommend using the vanilla extract to make sure that you don't really have any chickpea aftertaste (which is barely there) to your meringue.
You have two options here to proceed:
1) Make your lemon curd one day and jar it and then use it when convenient to make your tart (basically just spread it on the crust). This might be really handy in case when you just make the lemon curd for other purposes or you have any remaining from previous baking so you just spread it on the crust.
2) Make the crust first and then pour the warm lemon curd over it (and jar the rest that might remain). This way, you will achieve a smoother surface of the tart.
For the sake of this recipe, let's go for the second option.
You can work your dough on your kitchen work surface or in a bowl. Mix your flour, butter, salt and vanilla extract, work it together with the tips of your fingers and then add the ice cold water (you might need just 1 spoon so do one by one). Work the dough together and then use the fraisage technique to make sure that the flour and fat work well into each other. There are plenty of tutorials on Youtube so make sure you check them out. Basically it means that using the back of the palm of your hand, you smudge the dough bit after bit on the surface. It is more difficult to explain in written than to show it so definitely, have a look at those videos 😊. Once you work it together, wrap the dough in a wrap foil (I usually don't leave it in a bowl but I kinda flatten it out with my hands a bit, it's gonna be easier to roll it later) and let it rest for at least 30 mins in the fridge.
Preheat your oven at 370 F.
Take your dough out of the fridge, roll it out and place it into your tart mold (I put the baking paper on the bottom of it (not the sides). Poke it with your fork and blind bake it. To blind bake, basically cover it with the baking paper. I wrinkle it into a big bowl with my hands and then open it again. Once it's wrinkled, it's easier to place it over the dough. Then you need to put something heavier over it - you can use rice, beans... whatever you find convenient. Then put it into the oven for 15 minutes. After those 15 minutes, remove the baking paper and bake it for another 15 minutes without any coverage.
As your crust is baking, you can start making the lemon curd. Zest 2 lemons (make sure you just zest the surface, once you get on the white part of the lemon, you better avoid that, otherwise it will all get bitter), juice all 4 of them and mix with all other ingredients. Put it on medium heat and while stirring it constantly, cook it till it all thickens up (which might take a while so be patient!)
Pour the lemon curd over your tart and let it cool down. Before making the meringue, put it to the freezer for at least 15 minutes (in case you don't have the torch to caramelize as I mentioned already). For the meringue, whip the aquafaba with sugar, vanilla extract and xanthan gum (that one is optional and helps the meringue to hold longer) until it forms stiff peaks. Use a piping bag (or just spread it over with a spatula for more of a rock-n'-roll look) to place the meringue on the tart and then put it under broil (look up before the ingredients in this recipe, I explain how to) or use the torch to caramelize it. And voilà!
A bonus - I also used caramelized lemons on the top, if you want to have the same visual effect, simply sugar coat the sliced lemons and put them on your pan and let caramelize.