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This delicious dessert is a modern take on Chester pudding, a traditional Victorian dessert. It's also an early version of what we now know as lemon meringue pie (opens in new tab). With a crumbly pastry base, sweet lemon filling and light meringue (opens in new tab) topping, bake these in individual tart cases to guarantee everyone gets their fair share! However, if you prefer, make one large Chester pudding and fight among yourselves for the final slice. For a special finish, we recommend you serve the puddings with a glut of fresh berries in summer months. It's a perfect pairing.
For the pastry
- 300g all butter shortcrust pastry
For the filling
- 100g salted butter
- 8 large egg yolks
- 2tsp lemon zest
- 8tbsp lemon juice
- 200g unrefined golden caster sugar
- 80g ground almonds
- 2tsp cornflour
For the meringue topping
- 2 large egg whites
- 110g unrefined golden caster sugar
- ½tsp cornflour
- ½tsp lemon juice
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface into a square no thinner than 5mm. Cut into quarters and use each quarter of pastry to line 4 9cm fluted loose bottom tart tins.
- Chill the pastry uncovered in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5 and place a baking sheet inside to heat up.
- Prick the pastry bases with a fork, line with baking parchment and fill with rice or baking beans. Place on the preheated baking sheet and bake blind for 10-15 minutes before removing the paper and rice or beans and bake a final 5 minutes.
- Remove tart cases from the oven and leave aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3.
- To make the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat before adding all of the yolks with the lemon zest, all but 2tbsp of the lemon juice, sugar and ground almonds. Stir gently over a low heat - do not boil - until thickened and the mixture holds itself when a wooden spoon is trailed through, around 10 mins.
- Combine the reserved lemon juice with the cornflour and stir it through the almond filling. Cook until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan and divide evenly amongst the cooled tart cases.
- For the meringue, whisk the egg whites to reach soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Whisk in the cornflour and lemon juice. Spoon the meringue mixture evenly over the tart filling, using the back of the spoon to ensure the filling is covered and to form peaks.
- Bake for 25 mins until the meringue is lightly browned.