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First make the pastry.

Sieve the flour with the salt, cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour with the fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt the finished pastry may be tough.

When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop. Whisk the egg and add the water. Take a fork or knife, (whichever you feel most comfortable with) and add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect it into a ball with your hands, this way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper shorter crust. Cover with cling film and chill for half an hour if possible, this will make it less elastic and easier to roll out.

Line the flan ring and chill again for 15-20 minutes, line with paper and fill with dried beans. Bake blind for 25 minutes, 180°C\350°F\regulo 4. The pastry case must be almost fully cooked. Remove paper and beans, paint with a little lightly beaten egg white and put back into the oven for 5 minutes approx.

Meanwhile make the lemon curd.

On a very low heat melt the butter, add castor sugar, lemon juice and rind and then stir in well beaten eggs. Stir carefully over a gentle heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Draw off the heat and pour into a bowl (it will thicken as it cools.) Fill the pastry case with the lemon curd mixture. To make the meringue - whisk the egg whites in a perfectly clean dry bowl, until they begin to get fluffy, then add 2 ozs (50g/1/4 cup) castor sugar and continue to whisk until they form stiff peaks, fold in the last 2 ozs (50g/1/4 cup) castor sugar and then either pipe or spread over the lemon mixture with a spoon.

Turn the oven down to 130°C/250°F/Gas Mark 1/2 and bake for about 1 hour until the mixture is crisp on the outside. Serve warm or cold. Alternatively cook at 210°C/410°F for 7 minutes.

Note: do not whip the egg whites and make the meringue until you are ready to use otherwise if it sits around it will loose volume. Lemon Petit Fours Fill tiny petit four pastry cases with a blob of lemon curd, pipe a rosette of meringue on top. Bake in a fully preheated oven 250°C/475°F/regulo 9 for 60 seconds.

You Will Need

  • 4 ozs (110g/scant 1 cup) white flour
  • 2-3 ozs (50-75g/1/2 - 3/4 stick) butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk (keep white aside for meringue)
  • 2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teasp.) cold water approx.
  • Lemon Curd
  • 4 ozs (110g/generous 1/2 cup) castor sugar
  • 2 ozs (50g/1/2 stick) butter
  • finely grated rind and juice of 2 good lemons
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk (keep white aside for meringue)

Meringue
Make meringue with

  • 2 egg whites, preferably free range
  • 4 ozs (110g/generous 1/2 cup) castor sugar
  • 9 inch round tin preferably with a pop-up base

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie Double the quantity of meringue in recipe and pile into a cone or pyramid on top of the tart. Cook for 1 hour at 130°C/250°F/Gas mark 1/2. 

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