The Northgate’s head chef Greig Young says there’s a real buzz of excitement as speed gathers momentum on the road out of the pandemic, and he for one can’t wait to get back to work with his team
Well, this is exciting, we all now have a clear plan of what is going on. We are preparing the terrace for our new Spring Garden tipi, digging the garden and planning menus for the big day. There is a lovely buzz around the team, and I can say everyone is looking forward to getting back to work and longing for the routine and social contact that comes with it.
I have often said through these three lockdowns, that what I really miss is beautifully simple food shared around a table with great company. I do not overly miss flashy, showy food or over-the-top service, it’s the little things you cannot get at home; amazing fish, freshly-churned ice cream, salty, soft, bright yellow raw butter. . . the list goes on, but I will definitely use this as my inspiration when writing future menus and building dishes and try not forget what is really important.
For this month’s recipe I am going to keep to the sweet bake-off theme. Last month was the super sweet, super fancy iconic French macaron. This time I’d like to share my zingy lemon tart recipe, with a lovely buttery almond pastry and some marshmallow-esque meringue.
For these little tarts I like to do a no-bake custard which makes them much easier to prepare in stages and you will not have an unset, under-cooked or leaky tart. We covered Italian meringue last month when we made macarons, so where the recipe is slightly different the methodology is the same. This is one of the reasons I love pastry – if you learn a good few core techniques, the number of different things you can create is limitless.
As always, I hope you have a lovely time making my recipes and I cannot wait to see you on The Northgate terrace very soon.
If there are any recipe requests or food questions I would love to hear and help. Please don’t be shy, contact me via The Northgate.
ZINGY LEMON TART
Almond sweet pastry
250g plain flour
150g soft unsalted butter
50g egg (1 in number)
90g icing sugar
50g ground almonds
In a standing mixer beat your butter with a paddle with your sugar. Do not do it for too long or you will incorporate too much air. Turn the speed down and slowly add your egg (It helps if you beat the egg first). In a separate bowl mix your salt, flour and ground almonds. I like to fold this in by hand, but in the mixer will be fine. I like to roll a little before I chill it, so I handle as little as possible on my final shape. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight is preferable. Freeze any extra.
Line your tart case and prick the bottom with a fork, chill for another 30 minutes while your pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees. Line your tart with paper or foil and blind bake using baking beans or rice (or whatever you prefer) for 12 -16 minutes until cooked through and golden. Leave to cool on a rack for a minimum of 30 minutes, then glaze with egg yolk that has been let down with a teaspoon of water. Return to the oven for 5 minutes to set the glaze and make a waterproof seal.
150ml lemon juice
75g egg yolks (about 4)
160g caster sugar
In a bowl mix the cornflour, egg yolk and caster sugar. In a pot bring your lemon juice to the boil. Pour the hot lemon juice over the dry ingredients and mix. Return to the pot and gently cook out while mixing until the mixture is thick and glossy (this should only take a few minutes). Using a hand mixer, slowly incorporate the butter piece by piece.
Pour the mix into your tart cases and leave to set at room temperature before refrigerating.
150g egg white
Place the sugar and water in a pot. Using a digital thermometer, bring the sugar to 121 degrees. Try to avoid mixing as it will encourage crystallization and spoil the sugar.
When the temperature hits 114 degrees start whisking your egg whites at a medium pace in a stand mixer. When the temperature hits 121, remove it from the heat and increase the speed of your whisking and slowly start pouring it into your whipped egg whites. Whisk until cool and place in a piping bag.
There are no rules here, so have fun! You can pipe it neatly; you could do a cupcake style swirl, or you could just spoon on a massive dollop! I like a random squiggle.
If you have a blowtorch you can lick the marshmallow with the flame, but be careful as they can catch fire easily so be ready to blow it out!
Greig Young is head chef at The Northgate, Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 339604