In Donal's own words, 'I’m a self taught home cook who writes and photographs food for a living. I’ve been cooking from an early age ...
For the Pastry:
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g cold butter, diced
1 tblsp caster sugar
For the Lemon Curd Filling:
300g caster sugar
Grated zest of 4 lemons and juice of 3–4 (approx 120ml)
4 large egg yolks
60g butter, diced
For the Meringue
4 large egg whites
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make the pastry, rub the flour and butter together in a bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Stir through the caster sugar and 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water until the mix comes together to form a ball. Press it into a flat oval, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the lemon curd filling. Place the sugar, cornflour, lemon juice and zest and 450ml of cold water in a large saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring continuously until thickened. When it is thick, stir through the butter, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Dust a work surface with a little flour and roll out the pastry to 3mm in thickness and large enough to fit a 20cm diameter, 4cm deep fluted tart tin with a removable base. Line the tin with the pastry and press it into the sides before trimming the edges.
Prick the base with a fork all over and line with foil, shiny side down, and fill with baking beans. Place the pastry shell in the oven to blind bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry is a light golden brown.
Remove the tin from the oven, lift out the beans and foil and allow it to cool on a wire rack.
Put the egg whites in a standing food mixer (or use an electric hand-held mixer in a bowl) and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add a little sugar at a time until it is fully incorporated, then add the remaining sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until just combined.
Place the cooled pastry shell in its tart tin on a baking sheet. Fill with the lemon curd and then spoon the meringue mix on top, piling it high and then using a palette knife to spread it evenly over the top, creating a neat dome. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the meringue is just set and lightly golden.
Alternatively, you could skip this baking step and use a blowtorch to torch the edges of the meringue until just set.
Leave to cool before transferring to a cake stand. Serve straight to the table.