Happy New Year, my friends!! Wishing all my readers, my friends and family all the best for 2015, may it be the best one yet for you all. I’m not sure if anyone is really even reading this, this morning! I’m sure you all had quite a busy night celebrating into the wee hours. Not us, though and by us, I mean us, the two old fogeys. Even Laith had plans with his friend and he’s just 9! We went out for some Thai food with one of the daughters but even she abandoned us after scoring a free dinner from her parents.
So, the two of us chilled, the telly quietly humming in the background, broadcasting the New Year’s Eve celebrations in other cities and as I sat typing up my post and editing photos, Trace spent time conquering the world on the computer. This is the extent of our NYE festivities these days, far from the crazy parties of our younger years.
I know that it’s really just another day and all, but it still makes you reflect on the past year and the year ahead. Time is just flying by and I see my children growing up. I think that’s the hardest, every year they get older, smarter, and more independent. I can’t come to terms with the fact that my youngest, Laith, will be 10 this year. I remember bringing the ruddy cheeked baby home from the hospital and it seems like yesterday. But, I suppose, the pendulum of life and time swings on without signs of slowing.
Like most of my past New Year posts, todays post is a sweet one. Indian customs and many Eastern customs, celebrate happy days and holidays with something sweet. I’m not a believer in posting colonic detox smoothies or diet recipes. I don’t believe in diets either (says the person who seriously needs to go on one).
So, in the spirit of a sweet New Year, here’s a Yuzu Meringue Tart, to kick of 2015.
Before I delve into the specifics and fun facts about this tart, let me tell you how excited I was to find yuzu at my local Whole Foods. I have never seen them before and had heard that they were hard to come by in the US. So, to walk in and find them while doing my weekly shopping was excitement that only other foodies or bloggers can understand. I bought a sack full and left the store with a million ideas running through my mind.
For those not familiar with yuzu, it’s a citrus fruit originating in East Asia (China, where it grows wild). It’s a hybrid and tastes very much like a sour tangerine/mandarin. It’s incredibly fragrant and the zest was so flavourful and full of aromatic oils. It’s bit rough looking in appearance, being a but knobbly and uneven with huge seeds inside. Yuzu fruit is rarely eaten as a fruit because it’s quite sour but is used in cooking, sauces and drinks. If you want to read more about yuzu, here’s the article from Wikipedia.
The meringue tart/pie has been on my to do list forever. Many moons ago when my parents owned the restaurant in Houston, we used to carry a lemon meringue pie, which looked amazing, all puffy and white with its golden kisses on top. We never had this pie in London, so it was also very new to me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try this pie because it was made with gelatine (pork based). I therefore, refrained from all meringue pies everywhere with the fear of them containing gelatine.
Of course, once I began making my own pies and cakes, I realised I could make this without gelatine. It’s taken me this long to actually do it. The recipe is pretty much a basic lemon meringue recipe where I subbed the lemon for yuzu. I used Alton Brown’s recipe but I made my own pastry crust and changed some quantities to suit the yuzu fruit.
If you notice, my tart crust looks a lot more golden than usual and that’s because of the flour I used. I’ve been experimenting with a non hybridised form of wheat known as Einkorn. The Einkorn flour tends to bake up a lot more golden. I used Einkorn flour here but you’re welcome to use regular flour. And if you can’t find yuzu fruit, make it into a lemon meringue tart, it’ll still be fabulous!
Serves: 12 pieces
- YUZU FILLING:
- 4 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup yuzu juice, from 6 yuzu
- ¼ cup orange juice. from ½ orange
- 1 tablespoon finely grated yuzu zest
- 5 egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- TART SHELL:
- 1½ cups/220g plain or all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons/113g cold butter, in small cubes
- 1 egg yolk (save egg white for meringue)
- 3-5 tablespoons ice cold water
- TART SHELL:
- In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse to break down the butter to pea size pieces.
- Add the yolk and 3 tablespoons water.
- Pulse to combine and form a dough.
- Add more water if needed for the dough to stick together when pressed between two fingers.
- Dump the flour mixture onto a clean counter and bring the pastry into a ball.
- Knead just enough to get the dough together.
- Shape into a circular disc if using a round pie dish or tart pan.
- I shaped mine into a rectangle.
- This will make enough dough for a 9"/24cm pie dish, or rectangle tart tin.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for atlas 20 minutes.
- Roll out the chilled dough, into a 12" circle for a round pie dish or into a rectangle for a rectangle tart pan.
- Once rolled and place into tart shell, allow the tart shell to chill or freeze overnight.
- To prebake the tart shell. preheat the oven to 425F/200C.
- Put a piece of parchment paper on top of chilled pie shell and pour in pie weights, beans or rice to blind bake.
- Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the shell from the oven and carefully remove the beans/rice/weights.
- Prick lightly with a fork all over.
- Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool a little.
- Use in the recipe as directed.
- Reduce oven temp to 375F.
- Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
- YUZU FILLING:
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C
- Whisk egg yolks in medium size mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, and salt.
- Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil.
- Boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and gradually, add hot mixture to egg yolks and whisk to temper the mixture.
- Return egg mixture to saucepan, turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.
- Remove from heat and gently stir in butter, lemon juice, and zest until well combined.
- Pour mixture into tart shell and top with meringue while filling is still hot.
- Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes right up to the edge of the crust.
- You can just spoon on the meringue or use a pastry bag, like I did, and drop little dollops.
- Either way tastes good, it's just aesthetics.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
- Make sure pie is cooled completely before slicing because the meringue will ooze everywhere if you don't!!
High altitude bakers, don't whisk your meringue to stiff peaks. As soon as they can hold a fairly stiff peak, stop beating. Over beating meringues can flop our meringues here in the high altitudes.
The yuzu tart has a lovely sweet tart flavour and tastes very much like a sour tangerine. I love citrus fruit so this was a treat for me. It was very addictive and I single handedly ate half of the tart. Hope you can find some yuzu to try this fruit in a great tart. The filling was incredibly fragrant and full of flavour making the whole tart just delicious.
Here’s to a healthy, happy, productive and prosperous New Year to all of us and once again, thank you all for your support and friendship over the past year. Nazneen xx