I believe that I promised a delicious and even more unhealthy use for curd. Well, I am a woman of my word, so I proudly present the following recipe. The ingredients make enough for a large 20-25cm meringue pie, but I halved the ingredients and had enough to make four 10cm tartlets, and I probably could have managed five if I’d had enough curd.
Use loose-bottomed fluted tins if possible, as otherwise you’ll smash the tarts to pieces trying to remove them.
Note: My oven is fan-assisted. Turn the oven up an additional 20degrees if yours isn’t.
…for the sweetcrust pastry
- 175g plain flour
- 100g cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
…for the filling
- About 450ml of curd, preferably home made. I used my mango-lime concoction.
…for the meringue
- 4 egg whites at room temperature. I can confirm that frozen whites whip up very nicely!
- 200g caster sugar
- 2 level tsp cornflour
- Foil or baking parchment
- Baking beans. Either the proper ones, or any dried beans will do but don’t eat them after you’ve used them for baking. I store mine in a jar and re-use them.
- Start off with the pastry. Preheat the oven to 180degrees C and butter your tins.
- If you have a food processor, just put in all of your ingredients and whiz until it begins to come together, with a tsp of cold water if needed.
- If, like me, you don’t have a food processor, put the butter, sugar and flour into a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. You don’t want to overwork this stage, so just rub until the butter is mostly incorporated. Your mixture might still be quite lumpy.
- Add the egg yolk and rub in until the pastry comes together into a ball. Add a teaspoon of cold water if necessary.
- Roll out on a floured work surface until about 3-4mm thick. This pastry is very rich and tends to crack. Don’t worry when this happens, just press it back together when you line the tin with it.
- Line the tin or tins, pressing the pastry into the flutes.
- Prick the bottoms of the tarts with a fork. This allows heat to escape and helps to keep the pastry flat.
- Line the tarts with foil, shiny side down. If using parchment, omit this step. Pop the tarts in the freezer for fifteen minutes or so until firm. Alternatively, you can chill them in the fridge for about an hour.
- Fill the cases with baking beans and bake blind for about 15 mins. I also put something heavy like a glass on top of the beans to compress the pastry further.
- Bake until the edges begin to turn golden. Then remove the foil/parchment and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is pale gold. Don’t worry if there are cracks in the pastry. Turn the oven down to 160C.
- Now for the meringue. Put your egg whites into a spotlessly clean bowl and whisk until you get soft peaks- if you allow some of the meringue to trail off the whisk, it will leave a pattern on top of the rest of the egg white.
- A spoonful at a time, add half the sugar. Whisk between each addition until the sugar is incorporated but don’t overbeat. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick.
- Gently heat the curd through over a bain marie.
- Pour into the tart cases.
- Immediately put spoonfuls of meringue around the edge of the curd. If you start in the middle the meringue might sink. For tartlets, use a teaspoon.
- Spread the meringue so it just touches the pastry, which will anchor it and stop it from sliding. Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot (or warm) filling. This will start to cook it. Give the tart a swirl.
- Return to the oven for 15-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let sit in the tin for 30 mins, then remove (place on a glass to slide off the side bit) and leave to cool for at least another 1⁄2-1 hour before attempting to slice.
I served mine with some double cream as they are just too healthy otherwise. This took them to the next level of deliciousness. My two lovely dessert-testers also agreed, though I had just bribed them with home-made curry.