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21st March 2016

Lemon and Almond Tart with Blackberry and Mint Sorbet and Mini Meringues

A visually striking and delicious dish which celebrates the harmony of some stunning flavours; sweet crispy meringue, tangy lemon with a crunchy almond tart base and sharp blackcurrant with refreshing mint

This lovely dessert is a perfect end to a lavish dinner party or a sweet treat when you’re feeling fancy! I made this dish for a dinner party at a customer’s house and it went down amazingly well. The combination of textures and flavours is perfect, while it is a dessert that isn’t too sweet on the palate. A lovely light end to any meal.

Serves 8

Sorbet (made a day ahead to be safe!):
200g caster sugar
200ml water
25g pack of mint leaves
600g blackcurrants
4 tbs liquid glucose
Juice of 2 lemons

Bring the water up to a boil in a pan, then add the sugar boiling until dissolved stirring gently. Once all dissolved take off the heat and add the mint sprigs. Leave until cool (about 15 minutes).

Discard the mint leaves and add the blackcurrants and glucose to the pan, cook until soft. Then add to a food processor and blitz. Then sieve the mixture into a bowl rubbing with the back of the spoon, add lemon juice here to aid the separation of the pips. Leave to cool.

Place in an ice cream machine until it becomes a thick slush then freeze. Or freeze in a shallow container, stirring intermittently 3 or 4 times.

Tart base, sweet almond pastry (made a day ahead):
120g very cold butter
70g icing sugar
25g ground almonds
Pinch of salt
Few drops of vanilla extract
1 egg
200g plain flour
1 x 23cm tart dish (loose bottomed preferably)

Beat the butter in a food processor (you can do this all be hand if you’re feeling strong!)  then add ingredients one by one ensuring each addition is incorporated after the next, starting with icing sugar, then ground almonds, salt, vanilla (if using), 1 egg and flour.

Beat until it all comes together (can be done by hand).

Roll in clingfilm and chill overnight.

Next day, butter and line your tart dish. Roll out the dough to about 2mm thick and place into the dish. Cut off excess. Bake blind for about 15-20 minutes at 180c, at halfway when the edges have started to colour remove the beans allowing the base to cook.

1 x egg white
60g caster sugar
Yellow gel food colouring
Preheat oven to 110C

Beat the egg white with a whisk until stiff peaks are formed, or until you can lift the bowl over your head and the mixture doesn’t spill! Then slowly while whisking add the sugar a teaspoon at a time, gradually adding more as the mixture becomes thicker and glossy. DO NOT OVERBEAT.

Once all the sugar is added, set the mixture to one side and line two baking sheets with parchment. Get a piping bag (or a small metal spoon and spoon out the mix) and draw on the inside with a toothpick dipped in yellow food colouring.

Fill the piping bag and pipe little meringues an even distant apart until the mix is all used up.

Place in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes to an hour, keeping an eye on them. You will know when they are done when they can be easily lifted off the parchment

Once done allow to cool completely. These cute little meringues can be kept in airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

Lemon Tart:
1 x blind baked pastry base (kept in the tin)
Zest and juice of 5 lemons
280g caster sugar
5 whole eggs
7 egg yolks
240g unsalted butter, softened

You are in essence here making a lemon curd, an already set mixture that you can fill your cooked tart base with. Begin by placing the zest and juice of the lemons, the sugar and all the eggs in a saucepan. Cook over a low heat until the eggs have broken up and the sugar has dissolved.

Add half the butter and start whisking, gently turning the heat up slightly. The eggs will start to cook and the mixture will thicken.

Add the remaining butter and continue to whisk, allowing the mixture to thicken more. It is important to keep whisking the prevent scrambled eggs forming at the bottom of the pan and to prevent the mixture from curdling.

Once thickened until it thickly coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and whisk until cool.

Once cool pour the mix into the prepared tart base and leave in a cool place to set.

Finishing your dish!
Take the sorbet out of the freezer and allow it to soften slightly. Cut a slice of tart, dust with icing sugar. Scatter your mini meringues over and finish with a quenelle of blackcurrant and mint sorbet.  A perfect balance of sour and sweet, tuck in!

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