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Recipe: Lemon Meringue Tart by chef Malo Le Cras of L’Oliveraie restaurant

A lemon meringue tart is a classic that few can resist.

It’s sour from the lemon cream, sweet from the meringue and the tart base provides just enough crunch and savouriness to give roundness in texture and flavour. But Malo le Cras, the award-winning head pastry chef from Château Saint-Martin & Spa in Vence, France elevates his with an additional element: an almond cream.

Chef Malo Le Cras

This takes your basic lemon tart from home fare to restaurant quality — and the best part is that it’s not even difficult. To truly polish your creation though, consider serving in individual tart cases and instead of spooning on the meringue, and use a piping bag to get the clean straight lines you see in the image above. Finish it off by torching the meringue lightly.

If your kitchen doesn’t have any of these equipment, fret not as we’ve provided alternative recommendations below.

Recipe for lemon meringue tart

Makes six tarts each measuring 8cm in diameter.

Sweet pastry
500g strong white flour
185g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
2g salt
1 vanilla pod
300g butter
113g egg

Cream together the butter, icing sugar, ground almonds, salt and vanilla. Once the mixture is nice and smooth, gradually stir in the eggs, followed by the flour, taking care not to over mix. Roll out to a thickness of 1.5 mm ready to line the tart cases.

Almond cream
250g butter
250g sugar
250g ground almonds
250g egg
50g flour
1 vanilla pod

Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla and ground almonds. Add the eggs one by one, followed by the flour.

Lemon cream
100g lime juice
100g lemon juice
125g sugar
150g butter
1g gelatin
200ml egg

Beat all the ingredients together until pale and fluffy then cook over a bain marie or a gently heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Add the softened gelatin. Next, add the butter at 40°C and mix well.

Italian Meringue
100g egg whites
200g sugar
50g water
1 lime, zest only

Make a sugar syrup and heat to 121°C. When the syrup is boiling, whisk up the egg whites. Continue whisking at a slow speed whilst gradually pouring the sugar syrup onto the egg whites. Add the lime zest and continue whisking at moderate speed until the mixture has cooled.

Assembly

Line the tart cases with the pastry and bake for 10 minutes at 165°C. Using a piping bag, fill each tart case to one third full with almond cream and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes. Once cool, fill the tarts with the lemon cream and top with the Italian meringue. Garnish with a sprinkling of dried marigold petals.

The recipe makes six tarts measuring eight cm in diameter but there is always leeway. These 3.5 inch tart shells come in a set of five and should be perfect for this recipe. If you’re a beginner, its removable bases would be vital to your success. It saves you from having to pry the tart out of a shell with a blunt knife and risk breaking the pastry. Instead, simply push the bottom of the case and the tart should come sliding out neatly.

Price
S$$15 for five pieces

If you want the gorgeous browned meringue bits that these tarts usually come with, you’ll need a blow torch. This particular torch we’ve picked out comes with three butane canisters, which can be taken out anytime to also be used for portable gas burners.

Price
S$18.90

It’s entirely possible to make your lemon meringue tart without a piping bag. Simply use a spoon to scoop up your meringue and shape it accordingly on the tart. For those who want the same sleek, polished look as created by the chef though, a piping bag with a thin nozzle is required. This piping bag set comes with 18 different nozzles, so you can not only attempt cake decorating, but even make yourself some churros after.

Price
S$2.98

There are three types of meringue: the Italian, the French and the Swiss meringue. If you’re attempting to make Italian meringue as per the recipe, you will need a kitchen thermometer. It might seem technical but pastry chefs have longed believed that the Italian meringue is far more stable, and has a very smooth texture.

Price
S$6
Recipe: Lemon Meringue Tart by chef Malo Le Cras of L’Oliveraie restaurant

Azimin Saini

Azimin Saini is a contributor to Lifestyle Asia. He has spent a decade in journalism, writing for The Peak, Style:Men and the Michelin Guide.

   

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