Lemon Tart

I love lemon tart and this particular one is rich, sharp and indulgent.  It is also easy to make if you are patient.  The tart in the photo was made by Jack (10), Betsy (8) and Loren (8) with very little help from me.

The pastry is very short and crumbly when baked but it can be a bit difficult to handle.  I find it easiest to roll it out on a piece of greaseproof paper and use that to transfer it to the tart tin.  The filling uses lots of eggs which helps it to set into a soft, firm custard.

Don’t be tempted to reduce the amount of lemon – the balance of sweetness and sharp acidity is perfect as it is.

Ingredients

For the pastry

225g / 8oz Plain Flour

150g / 5oz cold Butter

25g / 1oz Icing Sugar

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Water

For the lemon filling

9 large Eggs

300ml / ½ pint Double Cream

350g / 12oz Caster Sugar

6 large wax free Lemons

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F / Gas Mark 6.

For the pastry

Put the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg and water and pulse again until it forms a ball.

Roll out the pastry very thinly on a floured work surface until just a little bigger than the size of a 28cm / 11” deep, loose-bottomed tart tin.  Lay the pastry over the tin and ease it into the base and up the sides.  Leave any excess hanging over the sides of the tin. Place on a baking sheet and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Prick the pastry all over with a fork then line with greaseproof pastry and fill with baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes until pale golden-brown. Remove from the oven and remove the baking beans and paper. Trim the excess pastry off around the sides using a sharp knife. Return the empty pastry shell to the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until it is completely dry. Set aside to cool.

Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

Meanwhile make the filling

Put all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a jug.  Carefully pour the filling mixture into the cooled baked pastry case.  I find it easiest to do this in the oven – put the pastry case back in the oven, ease the oven shelf out a few inches, pour in the filling and ease the shelf back in.  This is less likely to result in spillages than carrying a liquid filled pastry case from work surface to oven.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes until just set but with a slight wobble in the middle. The filling will be soufflé like when it comes out of the oven, but will sink down when it has cooled down.

Leave to cool then remove from the tin, place on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar to serve.

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