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Mini lemon meringue pies
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Makes: 4 tarts
For the pastry
220g plain flour
35g icing sugar
125g butter, diced
1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest and juice
1 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg yolk
For the filling
2 unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest and juice, plus juice of 1 from the pastry
125g caster sugar
60g butter, cubed
1 tbsp Limoncello (optional)
2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg yolks, beaten
For the meringue top
3 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg whites (2 from the filling and 1 from the pastry)
1 tsp cornflour
1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl and rub the ingredients together using your fingertips until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the lemon zest and egg yolk (place the white into a large mixing bowl for the meringue topping) and mix with a round-bladed knife until the dough clumps together. Use your hands to briefly knead the dough to bring to a ball, then shape it into a flat disc, wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. You will need 4 x 10cm mini fluted loose-based tart tins. Roll the chilled pastry out to approximately 0.5cm in thickness. Cut out circles slightly larger than the individual tins, then gently place into each tin, pushing the dough right into the edges. Roll a rolling pin over the top of each tart to cut any excess pastry away neatly.
3. Cut 4 squares of baking parchment, scrunch then flatten out into each tart. Fill with baking beans (rice or lentils will work just as well) and bake for 20 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the parchment and beans. Return to the oven for the remainder of the baking time. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
4. For the filling, put the cornflour into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the juice from the lemon you’ve zested for the pastry and whisk to form a thin paste, then add the juice and finely grated zest from the remaining 2 lemons. Stir in the sugar and butter. Heat the mixture over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, whisking all the time, until slightly thickened and the butter has melted. Stir in the Limoncello, if using.
5. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a mixing bowl along with the reserved egg white from the pastry, and add the 2 yolks to the saucepan. Whisk vigorously to combine. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of lemon curd. Divide between the 4 pastry cases and leave to set while you make the topping.
6. Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. For the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking after each addition. Continue to whisk for a few minutes once all the sugar has been added. The mixture should be glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add the cornflour and mix to combine.
7. Spoon the meringue onto the set filling, using the back of a spoon to swirl it into the edges of the pies to create an attractive topping. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is beginning to brown and is crisp to the touch. Allow the pies to cool to room temperature before serving. Store any leftover pies in the fridge, covered, for 2-3 days.
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