It's summer, it's the new year and my first resolution is to look for ways to add some more gin love into the week. Topped with tangy tonic meringue and spicy gin infused lemon curd, this sweet rosemary tart is worth heating up the kitchen for.
Preheat your oven to 180C (356F) and grease a ~20cm round tart dish with butter. Tins with a removable base work best, but traditional ceramic dishes work fine too (and give more of a cute farmhouse vibe).
Add the flour, icing sugar and butter into a large bowl. Rub in the chunks of butter using your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the egg yolk and rosemary syrup (recipe on this site). You can of course substitute plain cold water for the syrup - I just love the idea of including a G&T garnish into the tart somehow!
Add the egg / syrup mix into the first bowl and mix it all together with your fingers until it just forms a ball. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for 20-30 minutes.
Grab your pastry out of the fridge and two sheets of baking paper (about 30-40cm long each). Place your dough between the two sheets and, using a rolling pin, roll it out until it's big enough to line your tart dish (about 1/4 to 1/2cm thick is ideal; you don't want it so thin it falls apart or so thick it's not enjoyable to munch through). Alternatively, just dust a bit of flour over your bench and roll out your dough.
Drape the pastry over your dish and press it into the corners, trimming off any excess. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork and pop in the oven for around 25-30 minutes. You can line the tart case with baking paper and beans or rice to weigh it down if you like, but I never bother. Take it out and leave to cool.
Zest and juice all the lemons and add into a medium size saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornflour until creamy. Add the gin and whisk again briefly, then tip the whole mixture into the saucepan.
Turn your stovetop to a low to medium heat, and whisk the mix slowly but continuously for around 5-8 minutes, making sure you get into the corners of the pan so it doesn't go lumpy in spots. Once it starts to thicken up (enough to coat the back of a spoon), add in your chunks of butter one by one, letting each dissolve before adding the next. Keep whisking the mixture until the curd starts to go all lovely and smooth, and thickens up enough to loosely hold its shape in the pan when stirred.
Remove from the heat, let it cool down to around room temperature, then pour into the tart case and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
To make the meringue, put the egg whites, sugar, tonic water and a half pinch of salt in a large glass or heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water (use a tea towel to hold the bowl so you don't burn yourself on any steam!) and whisk until it's doubled in size and looks white and thick. This should take about 6-7 minutes.
Remove from the heat and continue whisking (you can transfer into a Kitchen Aid or stand mixer to stop your arm falling off) for around 5 minutes, until the mix has cooled slightly and begins to form stiff peaks.
Remove the tart from your tin now (if you can, otherwise just leave it!), and get ready to plate up. Pile the meringue on top on the tart, swirling it around with the help of a spatula to create lovely peaks and troughs. If you happen to have a blowtorch, fire it up and lightly toast the top of your meringue for a bit more colour and excitement. Enjoy!!