I really like pistachio and lemon shortbread and have modified the recipe very slightly to make these tasty little shortbread bases for lemon curd filling and a meringue topping.
Making your own lemon curd is a great way to use the whole egg and not just the whites or you can purchase it in the spread section of your supermarket.
These tarts are lovely for afternoon tea or served at the end of a drinks party.
Italian meringue is more time consuming to make but gives a soft glossy meringue that is more sophisticated than a basic meringue.
- 125g (4oz) butter
- 1/2 cup (65g or 2oz) icing sugar
- 1 1/4 cups(160g or 5oz) flour
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- Basic meringue option
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup (60g or 2 oz) caster sugar
- Italian Meringue options
- 50ml water
Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F)
Beat the butter and icing sugar until pale and creamy. Mix in the flour and then pistachios and lemon rind, mix well.
Grease 2 x 12 cup mini muffin trays.
Break off small pieces of dough and press into the base of the mini muffin tins. The mixture should come about 1/3 way up the tin. Press an indent into the centre of each, making a hollow where the curd will sit later.
Bake for 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Remove from the oven, gently press the centres back down if they have risen and then allow to cool a little before turning out onto a wire rack.
Increase oven heat to 220 C (425 F)
For a basic meringue: Beat the egg whites until foamy (electric mixers are easiest) and then gradually add the sugar, beating for up to 10 minutes until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag. Of you can spoon it onto the tarts if you would rather.
Italian meringue option: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over a low to medium heat, Bring to the boil, gently swirling the pan in the first instance before the mixture boils to dissolve the sugar and brush away any sugar crystals with a wet pastry brush. Cook, without stirring unti the mixture reaches 116 C on a sugar thermometer. Slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into beaten egg whites, beat on high speed for about 7 - 10 minutes.
Arrange the pistachio bases on a baking tray, place a small spoonful of lemon curd into each and then pipe meringue on top.
Bake for 3-4 minutes until meringue is starting to colour or brown with a kitchen blow torch.
Allow to cool.
Bases can be made and kept in an airtight container up to a week in advance.