I love Rachel Khoo – she is a food writer/chef who has a TV show called ‘The Little Paris Kitchen’ where she runs a two-table restaurant from her tiny Paris apartment (now closed). I like her charming personality and also that she reminds me of how Paris may have been in the 1950’s, with her bright red lipstick, black eyeliner and polka dot dresses. And she does produce some good dishes. Have you seen her show?
She recently demonstrated a dish called ‘Grapefruit and Pepper Meringue Tartlets’- although not intrigued with the idea of using pepper in a sweet dessert, I decided to give this recipe a try. The dish looked delicious with the added bonus I could daydream I was cooking in my very own Paris kitchen!
I decided to diverge from the recipe a bit- I axed the pepper and substituted lemon curd for the grapefruit curd. What resulted was a delicious lemon filling nestled inside a biscuit/cake base, and topped with a swirl of meringue. As I bit into it, I was transported into my imaginary Parisian world, carrying a fresh baguette under my arm from my local Paris bakery, perhaps a chance sighting of Brigitte Bardot (maybe not!)
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
For the Biscuit Base
- 150 g softened butter (5 ounces)
- 150 g sugar (~ 3/4 cups)
- Zest from 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 200 g plain flour (~ 1 cup)
- 3 tsp baking powder
For the Lemon Curd
- Juice from two lemons (~ 3/4 cup)
- 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
- 200 g sugar (~ 1 cup)
- pinch of salt
- 100 g butter, cubed (3.5 ounces)
For the Meringue
- 3 egg whites
- 150 g sugar (~ 3/4 cup)
- pinch of salt
- To make the biscuit base, pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Cream together the softened butter, sugar, lemon zest and salt until smooth. Add the egg yolks and continue to beat.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add to the creamed mixture. Beat until the dough comes together as a smooth paste.
- Grease the inside of 6 pastry rings with melted butter. Place the rings on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spread a thin layer of biscuit batter on the bottom of each pastry ring (about 1/4 inch thick), then work a bit of the dough up the sides of the ring so that a little ‘well’ is formed for the lemon curd to sit in.
4. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pastry ring and then gently release each biscuit from the ring.
5. To make the lemon curd, whisk together the juice of two lemons (~ 3/4 cup) in a saucepan with the sugar, salt, egg and egg yolks. Whisk over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking until the consistency is smooth.
7. Place curd into the fridge for at least one hour until it ‘sets’ then fill each biscuit base with around 2 tablespoons of the curd.
8. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites and pinch of salt with electric beaters until soft peaks begin to form. Then gradually add the sugar while beating, until stiff peaks form and the meringue has a glossy colour.
9. Swirl the meringue on top of each biscuit base (filled with the lemon curd) and brown the tops with a blowtorch. Alternatively, you can place the tartlets under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown.