For the short crust base:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream your butter and sifted icing sugar with the paddle attachment for roughly 4-5 minutes at medium speed. Next, add the eggs in gradually to allow the mix time to come together. Meanwhile, measure the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and incorporate into the main mix. Once well incorporated, wrap the dough in cling film (it should be a small rectangular shape) and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
*Note: You can pulse the dry ingredients into the mix first before turning up the speed of the mixer – this will prevent the dry ingredients from spilling out.
Rolling the short crust base:
Preheat your oven to 180℃ (350°f).
After 30 minutes, take the dough from the fridge and place the dough between two large sheets of parchment/baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until the dough is about 2-3mm thick. Leave dough on parchment paper.
Using your rolled dough, grab your 8-inch tart ring. Cut the base of your tart using your tart ring to get the right size (after this, leave the tart ring with the cut base inside). Remove the excess dough with a scraper or palette knife. Use the extra dough to cut strips for the side of your tart ring. The strips should be about 3 cm wide and again, 2-3mm thick. When ready, place strips along the sides of the tart ring until completely covered. Trace the sides with your fingers to make sure you have joined all individual dough strip together – this will ensure the dough has no gaps.
*Note: If the dough feels too soft/warm when cutting the strips, just place the dough (between parchment paper) back onto a tray and leave in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes.
Last, dock the tart base and sides with a fork. Place on a tray with non-stick parchment paper. Leave in the fridge for another 20 minutes to allow dough to rest. When ready, blind bake your tart in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until your tart has a nice golden (light yellow) colour. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave aside to cool.
*Docking your pastry will prevent your pastry from shrinking/rising too much when it is blind-baking in the oven.
*At this point, you can switch off the oven as you will not need it for the remaining components of assembling the tart.
For the lemon curd
Dice your unsalted butter and leave aside in a small bowl until it is soft and pliable at room temperature.
In a small-medium sized pot, whisk the eggs and caster sugar together. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice into the same pot and whisk until ingredients combine.
Next, turn the stove on to a medium heat. As the mixture cooks, it is important to continue whisking the mix. This will help prevent burning especially for such a small amount of ingredients. Do this until you reach 80℃ (176°f). At this point, remove from heat and transfer contents to a tall container. Using a kitchen hand blender, add a small amount of the soft pre-diced butter cubes into the mix and blend together. Incorporate your butter cubes gradually and blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Once finished, lay curd in a flat tray and place in the fridge to cool down.
*Note: If you do not have a kitchen hand blender, you can incorporate the butter slowly into the mix and whisk by hand. Be careful not to overmix as it can result in splitting of your curd.
For the swiss meringue
In a medium bowl, measure the egg whites and caster sugar. Whisk together by hand and place over a bain marie (a pot with hot water on the stove). Continue to whisk the mixture until it reaches 60℃ (140°f). At this point, turn off the stove and pour your mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer. Use the whisk attachment and whisk at medium to high speed until the meringue forms stiff peaks.
*Note: You can check if your meringue is stiff enough by turning the whisk attachment upside down – a stiff meringue should not fall.
By now, the baked short crust base and lemon curd should have cooled.
Take the tart base and fill it with the smooth lemon curd. You can fill it to the top of the pastry tart. Using a flat-edged palette knife, flatten the curd so it is levelled.
Next, take the meringue you have made and fill into a piping bag with a round nozzle (approximately 3mm). Now this is the fun part! You can pipe your meringue onto the tart to create any design you’d like.
*Note: If you do not have a piping bag, do not worry! You can also use a Ziplock bag and cut a curved hole in one of the corners after you’ve filled and closed the bag. Alternatively, you can also spoon or pour the meringue onto the tart and create little stiff peaks with the back of a spoon.
Once you’ve finished, grab a kitchen blowtorch and turn onto a medium setting. Torch the meringue slightly until you get a beautiful light brown colour. How much you torch your meringue is up to you. You can torch the meringue to create multiple brown to white colour tones across the top of your tart.
At this point, you are ready to eat! This tart is best served on the day of making (keep it at room temperature if you have a few hours between assembly time and eating) as the tart base will have its crunchy texture and the meringue will be at its best. After this, it is best kept in an airtight container, preferably in the fridge although this will cause the tart base to go soft.