Sunday, 13 September 2009

Tarte au Citron

I put together this lemon tart I came across in Mary Berry's Kitchen Favourites for a friend that was coming for lunch. Just a quick word of warning though, this recipe makes tonnes of filling. I had a smaller tart base so I expected to have leftovers, but I could have halved - possibly even quartered! - the filling recipe and been fine. I ended up freezing what was left into a really nice ice-cream. I think that even if I had made a 28cm base the way the recipe said I still would have extra.

Ingredients (serves 10-12)

For the pastry:
250g (8oz) plain flour
125g (4oz) chilled butter, cut into cubes
60g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp water
28cm (11in) 4cm (1½in) deep loose-bottomed fluted flan tin
baking beans

For the filling:
9 eggs
300ml (½pint) double cream
grated zest and juice of 5 large lemons
375g (12oz) caster sugar
icing sugar for dusting
lemon twists to decorate


The lemons I had were a little small so I used 6 instead of 5.

I used granulated sugar instead of caster sugar


1) Make the pastry: put the flour into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively you can put it food processor and pulse until it reaches the right consistency.

2) Stir in the caster sugar, then bind together with the egg and water to make a soft, pliable dough. I didn't need all the water, so use your own judgment. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

3) Put the oven on to preheat at 200C/400F.

4) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use to line the flan tin. Cover in foil and weight with baking beans (dry beans or dry rice work just as well), then bake blind for ten minutes. Leave some extra pastry around the edges because the shell will shrink a little as it cooks, you can trim it later.

5) Remove the baking beans and foil, and bake the pastry shell for 5 minutes or until the base has dried out. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F.

6) Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the cream, lemon zest and juice, and caster sugar. Stir until smooth, and pour into the pastry shell.

7) Bake for 35-40 minutes until the lemon filling has set. Cover the tart loosely with foil if it gets too brown on the edges.

8) Leave the tart to cool a little, then dust with icing sugar. Decorate with lemon twists, and serve warm or at room temperature.

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