I had recently been on a trek to the Himalayas and I must say, I was very, very lucky to have trekked in the weather that was. Warm, crisp air, sunshine bouncing elegantly from the snow capped mountains, melting dew kissing my skin, I don’t believe it could have even got any better!
It was so beautiful and optimally breezy, I could see it in the bloomed flowers, the swaying grass, the swooning weeds and the whispering trees. A few minutes of silence atop the summit, I could listen to the birds sing so beautifully and the trees and the grass support them with percussion and BG music of sorts. Such beauty, I don’t believe I will see anything that perfect for a long time.
The funny thing is, it started to pour and disrupt everyday life in the same region just a couple of days after the trek, moments after I reached home. Such contrast of events, Phew!
For the third in the series, thought I would draw some inspiration from those moments, when I smiled for hours and hours and couldn’t just rub that smile off my face. I think it was because I breathed the freshest, most crisp air and got to admire the beauty of the Himalayas while the sun shone bright! So, the first thing that comes to mind is citrus, bright yellow anything and a whiff of mild floral recents. Keeping that in mind, I made this incredible lemon tart with a flaky crust, served with rose meringues, toasted coconut ribbons and rose petals. Took me back to that mountain of solitude!
For the lemon tart:
To make the crust:
- 100g butter
- 125 gm flour
- 25 g ice cold water
Combine the flour and butter with your hands, rubbing them till you get a coarse mixture. Chill the flour and the whisk/ attachment you will be using for an hour. Very important to use ice cold water here, I think what is does is it retains chunks of butter in the dough, reducing the gluten developed thus making the crust flaky and buttery. Once chilled, add ice cold water and combine. Do not knead or over mix, mix till it sort of comes together. Use your hands to bring all of the dough together. Roll into a disk, wrap in clear film and chill again for over 4 hours. This helps hold the dough together and stays in a nice form with chunks of butter in once rolled. Once chilled, roll it out and transfer to your pie pan and blind bake it for about 20 mins at 180C. The time depends on the size of your pan.
To make the lemon curd:
- 4 egg yolks
- Juice and zest of two medium-sized lemons
- ~80 g sugar
- 100 gm butter
Beat the egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar for a minute or so, till combined. Place it on a bain-marie and continue to whisk while your egg yolks cook and stabilise. Once the mixture starts to thicken, start dropping small chunks of cold butter. Make sure you don’t add huge chunks and give it a few seconds to emulsify. Once nice and thick, add the zest, combine and chill. Once chilled, you get this velvety and creamy spread that can go on toast and biscuits and tarts!
To make the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- ~60 gms sugar
- salt, lemon juice
- a few drops of rose essence
beat egg whites till it reaches the soft peak stage, add a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice and continue to beat. Add the sugar spoon by spoon, slowly, giving it time to melt into the egg whites while you whisk. Once done, check for stiff peaks add a few drops of rose essence and combine gently using a spatula or just the whisk. Transfer spoonful to form little heaps of meringue onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 100C in a pre-heated over for one hour and let it sit in the over with the door left ajar. Take it out after an hour and store in air tight container or consume immediately!
Also, is anyone out there? Hello?