“Miss(a) Chin” Meyer Lemon and Sorrel Tart
This tart was inspired by my Jamaican mother who took so much pride in making the best sorrel around, in Jamaica’s motto “Out of many, one people,” and in the candor of Caribbean colloquialisms. The term “Missa Chin” is contentious, nudging our sensitivities a bit. But, for me, it acknowledges and pays homage to the huge contributions East Asians have made to Jamaican cuisine, highlighting not only the cultural and historical relevance of the term but the subtle culinary influences, as well.
Of course, as a Jamaican-American, I would never call anyone “Missa or Misses Chin” …unless of course dem ah mi good-good fren.
Element: Meyer Lemon , Sorrel
Prep time: 30mins | Cooking Time: 30mins | Difficulty: Easy | Serves: 8-10
16oz Water Crackers
2 tsp Sea Salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened Unsalted Butter
Meyer Lemon Custard
¾ cup Meyer Lemon Juice
14 oz (1 can) Condensed Milk
4 Jumbo Eggs
48oz of water
6oz Hibiscus Leaves
7 Allspice Berries
Ginger Root peeled and sliced
1 ½ cups Cane Sugar
⅓ cup of Ginger Syrup (homemade or store bought)
Zest of Two Lemons
Preheat the oven to 365 degrees.
Throw the crackers, butter, and salt into a food processor and blend well.
[If you do not have a food processor, this can be done manually using a mortar and pestle and a blender. In this case, be sure to combine the ground crackers and salt before adding the butter.]
Scoop three cups of the mixture into a 10-inch pie or tart pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press the mixture into the pan until you have a full ¼- inch thick crust.
Place the shell in the oven and bake it for 12-15 mins. or until the crust is a very light golden brown.
While the crust is par baking, whisk the lemon juice, condensed milk, and eggs in a bowl until just fully blended. Do not over beat.
Remove the crust from the oven, fill with the custard mixture, and place back in the oven for 15-20 mins. or until the filling is set. Once baked, allow the tart to cool to room temperature, and then place it in the fridge overnight.
Meanwhile, boil the water in a heavy-bottom pot. Add the hibiscus leaves to the boiling water, lower the heat to medium low and allow to pull for about 15 mins. Strain the hibiscus tea and add the liquid only back to the pot. Throw in the allspice, clove, and ginger root; quick stir and allow the ingredients to meld over medium low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the cane sugar, up the heat to medium, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat, pour the sorrel concentrate into a container, and allow it to sit in the fridge overnight/for a day. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor!
When you are ready to serve the tart, remove it from the fridge and allow it to sit out for about 20 mins. While the tart is sitting out, add 1 cup of the sorrel concentrate to a pot over medium high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the ginger syrup and stir constantly until it reaches a syrupy consistency (like maple syrup). Remove the glaze from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
[Note: Temperature is very important here because if the glaze is too hot and you add it to a cooler tart, then your tart’s custard will end up with ugly cracks!]
Pour the glaze over the tart and save a little for those who want more (they will). Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top to amp up the flavor, add basil as a garnish and compliment. Serve.
Tiffany-Anne Parkes is a culinary artist, self-trained pastry chef, educator and founder of Pienanny, a moniker (and infinite entendre) that sits at the intersection of feminism, art, and black cuisine, Pienanny focuses on fusing African, Caribbean, and European elements that reflect the global Black culinary experience.
See Tiffany’s full bio here.