There are many ways to enjoy summer fruits and berries from the garden but very little beats a light summery garden fruits tart. Couple this with a delicious lemony filling, sweet meringue kisses and you have summer on a plate. The summer tart makes a delicious dessert, or simply as treat, and packs a great punch when popped into a picnic basket or served at a summer barbeque.
The recipe may look long and complicated, it is not. You can buy the lemon curd filling and the meringue kisses (if you are really pushed, ready-made tart cases are also available to buy). Making your own is always the best though.
You will need a 12 hole-muffin tin, or 12 individual tart tins lightly grease with a little butter, plus two baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper. Keep to one side.
- 3 fresh medium egg whites
- Sweet Pastry:
- 8 oz/225g flour (all-purpose)
- 3 oz/75g icing sugar/confectioners sugar
- 4 oz/115g butter (cold, unsalted)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 medium-sized free-range egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 container of lemon curd or jar of shop bought
- 1 lb/450g summer garden fruits (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, assorted currants)
Heat the oven 140C/275 F/gas 1.
Make the Meringue:
- In a sparkly clean bowl and using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Continuing to whisk, sprinkle over the sugar one tablespoon at a time. The meringue is ready when it is thick and very glossy.
- Drop walnut-sized nuggets (a small dessertspoonful) of meringue onto the baking sheets leaving a space between them. Place in the preheated oven and cook for an hour. The meringue is ready when it is crisp on the outside and when tapped on the bottom sounds hollow. If the meringues appear to be going brown or cooking too quickly, lower the heat of the oven.
- Leave the meringues to cool while you make the pastry.
Make the Sweet Pastry Tarts:
- Sift the flour nd icing into a large baking bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes add to the bowl and quickly rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar to create a light crumb-like mix.
- Add the vanilla paste to the egg, mix together then add to the bowl. Stir the egg into the crumb mix to make a soft dough.
- Heavily flour your work surface and roll out the pastry to 2mm / 1/8" thick and cut 12 x 12cm circles Place the muffin tray in the fridge and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat the Oven to 200C/Gas 6
- Remove the muffin tin or tart cases from the fridge. Line each cup of pastry with baking parchment or foil (or use a bun cases). Fill two-thirds with rice or baking beans and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown on the edges. Remove the paper or foil and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave the tart cases to cool in the tin.
Assemble the tarts:
- Fill each tart with one-third the lemon curd and press in 2 or three meringue kisses Pile the fresh fruits on top and decorate with edible flowers and icing sugar. Serve.