Friday, 31 August 2012

Lemon's easy but don't tell.

I’ve never made a Lemon Tart before....*gasp*...shock horror. It’s one of those things that if you bake, you surely have a recipe for Lemon tart, and make it all the time like it’s so easy peasy even though it’s the sort of thing that would make uneasy bakers quake in their boots. It’s a classic you see and involves making pastry AND setting a custard. It would be a ‘Technical Challenge’ on the Great British Bake Off, it might have been already, I don’t reaaaaally watch it....I know...*another gasp*.

But guess what...turns out it IS easy. Ok it might not be the MOST faff-free recipe in the world, especially when you also have a Thai curry bubbling away and a bowl of bread dough waiting to be dealt with at the same time. But the fact that I managed it successfully amongst these other commitments, which you should know were also a success, without having a kitchen-based-meltdown are proof of easiness.

It does indeed require attention and a lot of kitchen timer action; with the pastry being in and out of the oven, but nothing is beyond the average cook’s skills and if you make your pastry in a food processor then your laughing.

So go on, impress with a Lemon Tart and let people think that you’re highly proficient in all the French classics and like to make filo pastry to wind down at the end of a long day. I won’t tell. With Love and Cake.

Lemon Tart.
Original recipe pinched from Rick Stein in Delicious Magazine.

A few notes:
  • The original recipe calls for a mixture of lemons and limes, and I indeed added 1 lime to the mix, but feel free to stay classic and lemony.
  • I made the pastry in a food processor, it just seems so much more accessible to me that way, but if the opposite is the case for you as you don't have such heavy machinery, just use your finger tips to rub in the butter and to bring the dough together.
  • The lemons MUST be unwaxed; if you can't get them don't include the zest in the filling.
Serves 8-10
You will need

a 25cm round tart tin, 3cm deep, greased and floured

For the pastry
250g plain flour
25g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, chilled from the fridge
2 egg yolks and 1 white

For the filling
3 unwaxed lemons
1-2 limes
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
150ml double cream

  • First lets make the pastry. Pulse together the flour and icing sugar in a food processor (or sift into a bowl).
  • Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg yolks and 1 tbsp of cold water and pulse until a soft dough forms, adding 1 more spoonful of water if necessary.
  • Remove the dough from the processor and form gently into a disc. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
  • Next, roll the pastry out thinly onto a floured surface. I used the cling film it was wrapped in to cover the pastry as I rolled, to stop the rolling pin sticking which worked well.
  • Line your prepared tin with the pastry, and gently prick the base with a fork. Cut off the excess (freeze it if you want to save it for another day) and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°c and pop a baking sheet inside.
  • Blind bake the pastry case; line it with a scrunched up piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans, or uncooked rice or dried beans (save them to continue to use for the same purpose, just don't cook them to eat).
  • Place the tart tin on the baking tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges have started to colour.
  • Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Brush the inside of the pastry case with the egg white and pop back in the oven for another 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry from the oven and turn the heat down to 120°c.
  • Now we make the filling. Grate the zest from the lemons and set it aside for now.
  • Then squeeze enough juice from the lemons and limes so you have 150-175ml.
  • In a bowl, gently whisk together the eggs and're looking to mix them together, not froth them up.
  • Mix the citrus juice and cream into the eggs and pass the mixture through a sieve to remove pips and big bits of fibre.
  • Stir in the zest.
  • Now you're ready to fill our pastry case. You can either do this out of the oven and just be super careful when lifting the tart or you can put the tart on the baking sheet in the oven, pull it out slightly and pour the filling in so you just have to slide the tart back in the oven.
  • Either way...bake for 45-50 minutes until just set, a tiny bit of wobble is good as it will continue to firm up once it's removed from the oven.
  • Cool before serving and eat as soon as poss.

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