Lemon Tart

Whilst summer may not have officially arrived yet here in the UK , the season is already in full swing in my kitchen, it’s  become overrun with lemons, berry jams & elderflower cordial (basically there’s more jam than usual!).

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I’m sure this happens to most of us at this time of year, something clicks in our brains to tell us that summer is coming & suddenly we find ourselves craving fresh fruits, salads, BBQ’s & Pimm’s.

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As soon as I see those fresh colours of the berries, the citrus & the veggies return to the local market I’m like a tiger stalking it’s prey before I pounce & end up buying way more of it than I can humanly eat (hence the excess of jams!).

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With all of these amazing, fresh foods on offer though, I always seem to gravitate towards the citrus fruits, oranges, limes & lemons. There’s just something about a huge, knobbly, juicy lemon that brings thought of sunshine. Eating anything citrusy just remind me of the Mediterranean… warmer climates, longer days & sipping on a spritz by the sea.

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Perhaps it’s a reminder of all of the lovely foods I’ve enjoyed on my travels in Italy? After all, I am the girl who brought back half a suitcase full of Amalfi lemons from a trip to Campania (if you’re wondering, yes, I do take an empty carry on bag in my luggage whenever I travel to Italy, purely so that I can make room in my suitcase for food on the way home –  I’m either a genius or have issues).

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Other than a really zesty marmalade, my favourite thing to make out these lovely lemons is a lemon tart, or tarte au citron if we’re being proper. A thin, sweet pastry case, filled with a sunshine yellow lemon custard, just set to a delicate wobble.

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A favourite dessert of the French, it’s not hard to see why. This colourful little tart packs a punch, there’s no denying the lemons in there. The sweet, crumbly shortcrust pastry adds that much needed sweetness to help balance out that acidity though. For a French dessert, this is so quick & easy to throw together, although I an impatient baker, where some might cook the custard before adding it to the pastry case, I prefer to bung it all in the oven & eat some lemon tart a little sooner.

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LEMON TART
(makes one 23cm tart)

Ingredients:

      For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cold water

       For the filling:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • zest & juice of 4 lemons

Method:

  • To make the pastry begin by combining the flour & icing sugar in a large bowl
  • Add in the cubed butter & using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add in 1 tbsp at a time of the water, stirring after each addition using just enough until it starts to come together in clumps then use your hands to finish bringing it together to form a dough
  • Flatten the dough into a shallow disc shape, cover in cling film & chill in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes (you could even do this the day before
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C & roll out the pastry large enough to fill the tart tin to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin
  • Line your tin with the pastry, leaving it hang over the edges of the tin
  • Prick the base of the pastry all over using a fork
  • Place a sheet of baking parchment in the pastry case & fill with baking beans
  • Blind bake the pasty for 12-14 minutes, remove the beans & parchment & continue to bake for a further 5-10 minutes until slightly golden in colour
  • Remove the tin from the oven & trim off the excess pastry overhanging the sides of the tin whilst it is still hot from the oven
  • Turn down the temperature on the oven to 130C
  • To make the filling, simply combine all of the  ingredients together in large bowl, making sure that everything is well combined
  • Once the oven has cooled, place the pastry case back into the oven on a low shelf & carefully pour in the filling (this just makes sure that we don’t spill any)
  • Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until the filling is just set, but with a slight wobble
  • Leave to cool completely before decorating or dusting with icing sugar

whisk

 

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