This is the dinner party version of our lime curd pyramid. It is based on a traditional French lemon meringue tart. Our version uses limes to give the dish an exotic flavour. Inside is hidden a coriander jelly which cuts the bulk and sweetness of the meringue. The coriander also hints at the limes’ affinity with South East Asian and also Mexican food. This dessert is best served fresh, but is fine the next day and also freezes well.
Sweet pastry base
- 120 g unsalted butter, chilled
- 100 g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 240 g plain flour, sifted
- 1 pinch of salt
- 6 limes, juiced and zested of 6 limes (you will need 200 ml)
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 10 egg yolks
- 300 g caster sugar
Coriander jelly (makes 500 ml)
- 300 ml water
- 150 g caster sugar
- 1 bunch coriander
- 3 g agar powder mixed with 125 ml of water
- 7½ g gelatin sheets
- coriander leaves, for garnish
- 100 ml water
- 300 g caster sugar
- 6 egg whites
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Drink Stone Pine Distillery Wild Limecello, Bathurst, NSW
"Lime is such a fabulous flavour to work with in food, and that burst of citrus, combined with the sweetness of the pastry and meringue, and the herbal hit of the coriander could have had you reaching for a late harvest riesling. However, here’s a different approach to the whole thing. This Limecello is a twist on the classic limoncello, using pink finger limes. As a liqueur, it is also sweetened so it has the fresh, zesty lime and that sugar cane sweetness to perfectly mirror this dish. Serve it chilled over ice and sip it with the dessert for a bit of a taste sensation!" - Dan Coward
The pastry base, lime curd and jelly can be made a day ahead, but the Italian meringue should be made close to serving time. That way the cold lime curd contrasts nicely with the warm meringue.
To make the sweet pastry base, you will need a square tin 18 cm x 18 cm.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a mixer, use a paddle to cream the butter and icing sugar. Stop before the mixture lightens. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and salt and continue mixing at a slow speed until all the ingredients come together. Form a square and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Roll out the pastry 4 mm thick into a square and line into the square tin. The sides should come up 2 cm high. Prick the base with a fork and blind bake with ceramic weights for 20 minutes. Remove the weights when the pastry has set and continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
While the pastry base is cooling, make the lime curd.
Place the juice, zest and butter in a heavy-based pot and bring to the boil.
Combine the yolks and caster sugar and whisk immediately until light and fluffy.
Using a ladle, slowly add the hot butter mix to the eggs and sugar, continuously whisking. Return the mix to the pan and cook over a medium heat until thick, whisking continuously. Make sure you whisk the complete area of the bottom of the pot to ensure the curd does not catch and burn.
Transfer the curd back to a mixer bowl and whisk on medium for 10 minutes until light, thick and shiny. Do not over whip or the lime flavour will be diluted. Refrigerate until cold and firm.
While the curd is firming up make the coriander jelly. The agar jelly adds a bit of rigidity without losing bounce and also decreases the setting time dramatically. Pyramid moulds can be found in specialty cooking shops.
Mix the water and caster sugar in a pot and bring to the boil. Add the coriander, whisk well and turn off the stove. Allow to infuse for 15 minutes before straining out the coriander.
Place the agar powder mixed with water in a ceramic bowl. Cling wrap and microwave for 4 minutes on high or until hot, clear and liquid. Be careful when removing the cling wrap as it will give off a puff of steam. Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water. Strain and add the agar mix to the gelatine, whisking lightly to combine.
Add the warm coriander syrup, mix well and pour into the pyramid mould. Place fresh coriander leaves on top and set for about 10 minutes in the fridge. You might have some jelly left over in which case set in a bowl for another time.
To make the meringue, place the water and caster sugar in a pot and mix well. Clean down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush until no grains of sugar can be seen above the liquid. Using a sugar thermometer, cook over a high heat until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage (118°C).
Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks are formed. Slowly pour in syrup, and then turn down to medium speed. Whisk for about 10 minutes, until the meringue thickens and turns glossy.
Fill the pastry base with the lime curd and using a palette knife, spread so that it is flat.
Unmould the jelly pyramid by dipping the outside of the mould in hot water, and place in the middle of the tart base.
Place a piping nozzle of about 1 cm in diameter in a piping bag. Fill it with the meringue and pipe over the jelly, building up a pyramid shape until you roughly have the shape of whole pyramid filled in. Next, using a palette knife, spread the meringue flat. Gently mark the surface of the meringue using a long serrated knife.
Using a blowtorch, scorch the surface gently until you get a nice golden toasted colour. Dust with icing sugar before serving.