Lemon Tart

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Lemon Tart dusted with icing sugar and ready to serve.

Lusciously lemony and  a very moreish, this is our favourite lemon tart recipe.  It has a intense and zingy lemon flavour and is especially popular with self proclaimed non pudding  eaters as the sweetness is there but  its not overpowering.  What’s more it is easy to prepare as you don’t have to precook the lemon custard. 

For those of you who are less confident with making pastry or baking blind its fine to buy a ready cooked pastry case. Make the lemon cream as instructed, heat the oven to 150c/gas 3 and paint a small amount of egg yolk into the base and sides  of the precooked tart  and set it in the oven as indicated below. Continue on from this point with the recipe instructions. You will probably get two 20cm tarts as the bought cases are less deep.

 Ingredients

Serves 6 – 8 (makes 1 X 20cm tart)

For the sweet pastry:

250 g plain flour

a pinch of flaked sea salt

75 g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

120 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced

2 egg yolks

1 additional egg yolk to seal the pastry case.

 

For the lemon cream:

5 medium eggs

150 g  caster sugar

zest of 5 lemons   and juice of 3 (approximately 100ml)

150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream

Pastry:

mix together the  flour,salt and icing sugar in a large mixing  bowl. Cut the butter into small dice and put it into the mixing bowl, coating  it with flour.  Work the butter gently with your finger tips until the mix resembles fine bread crumbs.

Beat the egg yolks together in a small bowl and then pour into the flour. Mix with a fork to combine, finishing the mixing process by hand, drawing the mixture into a ball. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead until the ball is smooth. Gently press the dough to form a flattened disc, wrap it in cling film and chill  in the fridge for 20-30 minutes

sweet shortcrust pastry

Pastry, lightly kneaded and ready for wrapping in cling film for resting and chilling for a minimum of 20 minutes

Remove the pastry from the fridge and bring it back to room temperature before rolling it out on  a lightly floured surface.   Line the 20cm pastry case with the rolled pastry. loosely cover with cling film and put the pastry case into the fridge for at least twenty minutes to chill well (you can freeze the pastry case at this stage and cook from frozen).

Make the lemon Cream:

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Ingredients for the lemon cream

 

Put the whole eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a large mixing bowl and whisk for a few seconds to combine. Add the cream and whisk again to combine. cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge until required.

Bake blind the pastry case:

Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6

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Line the 20cm tart or flan tin with the rolled pastry

Line the chilled tart case with a crumpled disc of foil or with baking paper. If using the later you will  need weigh it down  with baking beans or pennies.

 

Put the tart onto a flat baking tray and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the case from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to gas 3/160c.  Lift out the foil or baking paper and beans/pennies and return the pastry case to the oven  for a further 20 minutes. By the end of cooking it should be lightly golden, the rim may be a little darker but that’s ok.

Remove the pastry case from the oven and reduce the temperature again to 140°C/ 275°F/Gas Mark 1. Mix the additional egg yolk to loosen and lightly brush a little of it over the inside and base  of the cooked pastry case. Return the case to the oven for 1 minute to set (this creates a seal on the pastry and prevents it becoming soggy when the lemon cream is added). I don’t like waste so I usually stir the remaining egg yolk into the lemon custard at this point. Just make sure there are no pastry crumbs in it.

Pour the prepared  lemon cream into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes, until it is barely set, it should shiver like a just set jelly when moved.  Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to cool for at least 1 hour.

To serve remove the tart from the tin and place it on a flat serving plate. You can dredge with icing sugar if you like but do this at the last minutes or the sugar melts, spoiling the sheen of the freshly baked lemon cream.

Serve with cream or crème fraiche and fresh summer berries or  poached cherries.

Watch point:

If the oven is to hot or you cook the lemon cream for to long it will crack on cooling.

Don’t worry – no one will ever know if you whip up 150ml double cream with a tablespoon of icing sugar and a couple of teaspoons of lemon liquor, spread this on top of the tart and then press berries of your choice into the cream.

 

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If your lemon tart cream has cracked on cooling don’t despair, simply whip up some sweetened double cream, spread it over the top of the tart and arrange raspberries or other summer fruit on top. No one will ever know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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