Lemon curd meringue tart with blackberry compôte
For the lemon curd tarts
- 300g/10oz sweet shortcrust pastry
- plain flour, for dusting
- 4 lemons, zest and juice only
- 4 free-range eggs, beaten
- 350g/12oz caster sugar
- 110g/4oz butter
For the meringue topping
- 2 free-range egg whites, whisked until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
For the blackberry compote
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
For the lemon curd tarts, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness. Cut out four 12cm/5in discs from the pastry and line each of four 10cm/4in shallow tart cases with one of the pastry discs. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together the lemon zest and juice, eggs and caster sugar until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then add the butter and whisk until well combined.
Continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened, then pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Set the sieved lemon curd mixture aside to cool.
When the tart cases have chilled, line each with a disc of greaseproof paper or aluminium foil and fill with rice or baking beans. Place the four tart cases onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and return the tart cases to the oven for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
When the tart cases have cooled, divide the lemon curd mixture equally among the pastry cases.
For the meringue topping, sprinkle the caster sugar onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 4-5 minutes, or until the sugar is hot but has not melted.
In a large bowl, gradually add the hot sugar, a third at a time, to the whisked egg whites, whisking constantly, until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed and the mixture is glossy.
Spoon the whisked egg mixture into a piping bag.
Starting from the middle and working outwards, pipe spirals of the meringue mixture onto all four tarts until it covers the lemon curd.
Using a mini blow torch, heat the meringue until pale golden-brown. (Alternatively, preheat the grill to its highest setting and heat the meringue for 2-3 minutes, or until pale golden-brown.)
For the blackberry compote, in a pan, bring the caster sugar and crème de mure to a simmer.
Continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add the blackberries and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the blackberries are tender and the mixture has just thickened.
To serve, place a tart onto each of four serving plates. Spoon a little blackberry compote alongside each tart. Garnish each with a sprig of mint.