Monday 25 February 2013

Lemon Tart Recipe

Today's recipe is for a classic British lemon tart. A creamy lemon custard filling baked in a rich, sweet, shortcrust shell.

This is  true classic, as suited to be baked as a tea-time snack as it is for an elegant, individual, dessert.

If you have not tried this rich lemon tart with its melt in the mouth pastry shell, then I truly urge you to give it a go.

Lemon Tart

Serves: 8–10


For the Sweet Pastry:

250g (1 3/4 cups) plain 00 flour
125g unsalted butter, finely diced
75g (2 2/3 oz) caster sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbsp cold water

For the Filling:

4 medium-sized eggs
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
juice of 2 lemons
200ml (4/5 cup) double cream
finely-grated zest of 4 lemons


Turn the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar and mix to combine then add the egg yolks and stir to combine. If the mixture does not come together as a dough add enough of the water to bind.

Knead lightly (be careful not to over-work, as this toughens the pastry), then wrap in clingfilm (plastic wrap), set in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

After this time, roll out the pastry on a floured work surface until large enough to cover the base and sides of a 25cm (10 in) diameter flan ring. Trim the top of the pastry roughly, then set in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

After chilling, line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (360ºF, Gas Mark 6) and bake blind for 10 minutes. After this time, remove from the oven and remove the baking parchment and baking beans.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC (320ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for 5 minutes to lightly crisp the pastry. Remove the pastry case from the oven, then reduce the oven temperature to 130ºC (270ºF, Gas Mark 2).

For the filling, cream together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and the cream. Mix well then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Finally stir in the lemon zest and pour the filling into the flan case.

Return to the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the filling is firm (take care not to over-cook the filling, as it will shrink and crack).

Allow to cool to room temperature then transfer to the refrigerator and chill before serving. If desired, you can dust the surface with icing sugar and decorate with fresh fruit.

As an alternative to a single pie, you can also prepare this in 6 individual flan cases.

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