Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Lemon Meringue Pie with Vanilla Bean Shortcrust
There were only two complications: I'd never made one before; and the added pressure was that she was impaitent. And may I add, that my sister has absolutely no idea about cooking. For example, when I was still rubbing butter into the shortcrust pastry, she came into the kitchen to ask whether I had "nearly finished yet." Yeah, Jess. After 5 minutes of work, I'm done. It actually took me 2 hours... but the result was astonishing. The shortcrust pastry was definitely the highlight for me. It had vanilla bean seeds throughout and was light and crisp. Being a big fan of lemon curd, Jess loved it all. Her only complaint was that there wasn't enough! Next time, instead of individual tarts, I'll make it in a deep set tin for her. Also, I only dolloped the lemon curd with a small amount of meringue; but of course, you can add more if you so desire. Makes 8 individual tarts, or 1 normal size tart.
Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Shortcrust Pastry
1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
125g unsalted butter, chopped
1/4 cup iced water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Ingredients for Lemon Curd Filling
1/4 cup cornflour
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice (185mL)
3 tsp lemon zest, grated
40g unsalted butter, chopped
6 egg yolks
Ingredients for Meringue Topping
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl. Use fingertips to rub the butter into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add almost all water and mix with a flat-bladed knife. Add vanilla bean paste and stir through. Add more water if dough is too dry. Turn onto a large piece of cling wrap (cling film). Place another layer of cling film, the same size as the first, on top of the dough. Roll out the dough, in between the cling film to prevent sticking, until you have a disc shape large enough to fit your size pastry tin. Line pastry dish with pastry, trim edges and refridgerate for 20 - 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan-forced).
Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and spread baking beads out over paper. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, then remove paper and beads. Bake for a further 5 - 10 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden. Leave to cool.
To make the lemon curd filling, put the flours and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice, zest and water. Whisk continually over medium until the mixture boils and thickens. (Ensure you are whisking, not just stirring.) Reduce the heat and cook for 1 minutes, then whisk in the butter and egg yolks, one at a time. Pour into to cooled pastry tart and leave to cool completely.
To make the meringue topping, preheat hte oven to 220 degrees (fan-forced). Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl using electric beaters, until soft peaks form. Add extra sugar gradually, beating constantly until the meringue is thick and glossy. Beat in cornflour. Pour meringue topping on top of lemon curd filling. Shape peaks or soft swirls, as you desire. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve hot or cold.