CINDY’S LEMON CURD TARTOn my last trip to New Caledonia I had lunch at the Baronnet’s cattle farm near Bourail. This humble family takes New Caledonian hospitality to a new level, and the dishes they prepared were delicious – in particular, Cindy’s tarte au citron meringuée. It was the perfect combination of bitterness from the lemon, sweetness from the curd, and crunchiness from the meringue topping. I’ve changed up the base of the cake a little using a classic shortbread recipe. I think it complements the other layers beautifully.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)
395g can sweetened condensed milk
Juice of 1½ lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
225g plain flour
40g (1⁄3 cup) cornflour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
Fine salt flakes
150g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a 26cm tart tin.
2. For the shortbread, sift the flours, baking powder, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment until pale and creamy. Turn the speed down to low, add the sifted dry ingredients, and beat until a light dough forms. Tip the dough into the prepared tin and press the shortbread into the base and side with your hands. Cover with a piece of baking paper and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Remove the baking paper and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is a light golden colour. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, for the curd, mix the condensed milk, lemon juice and zest, and egg yolks in a bowl until smooth.
4. Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and slowly rain in the sugar, beating constantly for 3–4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue mixture is thick and glossy.
5. Pour the curd over the shortbread and spread out evenly. Dollop the meringue mixture over the curd and spread all the way to the edge with a palette knife, then use the knife to form rough peaks. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the meringue is golden and crunchy on top. Cool completely before serving.
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