For a first try, this wasn’t too bad or so the hubby said. The curd has a lovely lime flavour that isn’t too sweet or tart. The meringue was fluffy, airy and had that “melt in your mouth” texture without coming across as chewy or gummy. The proportion of meringue to curd, more importantly, were just right. I did experience some issues with the curd not setting properly – David’s recipe called for a 10-minute bake but I reckon I’ll extend it further by another 5-10 minutes as mine didn’t really set that well. One thing to note too is that this tart definitely holds up better when it’s fully chilled. Cutting it when it’s still warm – even a little – will result in a very gooey mess.
I also experienced a little bit of beading on the top of my meringue – you can see a bead or two on top of the meringue in the picture above – and I read that this is due to either overbaking or humidity. While I can’t control the latter, I can definitely control the former. And that would be to baking the meringue at a very high temperature – above 200 C – for a short amount of time. Some people suggested adding a tiny bit of cornstarch to the egg white mix to help absorb excess batter and prevent overbeating. I might give both a try.
While the hubs down three slices – two in one go and shared his third with Eva – Noah didn’t seem to be a very big fan of the tarty flavours. After one lick of the curd, he decided that a lime tart wasn’t on his “to experience” list – too, well, tart!
Lime meringue tart
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe here
(A) Tart shell
200 gms plain flour
25 gms /brown sugar
90-100 gms good-quality cold butter, cut into small cubes
A splash of water
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
115 gms unsalted butter – diced
3/4 cup or 180ml freshly-squeezed lime juice (from 6 limes)
3/4 cups or 150 gms sugar
Zest from three limes
A pinch of salt
3 large egg whites
5 tbsp or 75 gms icing sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and prepare a tart pan of your choice.
- Sift the flour into a bowl before adding in the sugar and cubing the butter into the flour mix.
Rub the butter with the flour, using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the center, add the water. Mix well until it forms a dough – add more cold water if necessary.
- When ready, remove from the fridge and roll out before covering the tart/pie pan. Remove excess dough from the top/sides, prick some holes in the base before pouring in the baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is set. Remove the pastry shell from the oven, put aside
- While the pastry is baking, preparing the curd by warming the butter, lime juice, sugar, zest, and salt in a medium sized saucepan/pot over low heat.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks.
- Once the butter has melted, pour some of the warm lime juice mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly to temper the mixture. Pour the warmed eggs back into the saucepan (lime juice mix) and cook over low heat while whisking constantly. Cook the mixture – do not stop stirring – over low heat until the filling thickens and coats the back of the spoon (it should resemble soft jiggly jelly!). Do not let it boil.
- Remove and pour the curd into the baked tart shell. Jiggle a little to even the curd out and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the curd has set.
- While the tart is baking, start working on the meringue. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until foamy before gradually adding in the sugar – take your time. Do not dump all the sugar at once; this will result in clumps and lumps forming.
- Beat your egg whites until they resemble stiff peaks (you can lift the whisk and the egg whites will hold its own shape OR place the bowl over your head – if you don’t have a mess on your hair, you’re good to go!).
- Once done, using a spoon, place dollops of the meringue over the entire surface of the hot lemon curd, starting at the outside edge of the tart. Make sure the meringue comes right up to the crust and there are no gaps between the crust and the lemon curd to prevent “weeping”. With the back of your spoon, gently press down on the meringue to get rid of any air pockets and to make sure all the lemon curd is covered with the meringue. You can choose to make some decorative swirls, if you like or just leave it as it is.
- Brown the top of the meringue using a broiler, flame torch or top grill of the oven. Once the top begins to darken, remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before slicing.
NOTE: Tarts are best eaten on the same day that they are made. If you want, you can store leftovers covered in the fridge.