Lemon tart

Lemon tart

By
From
Home Comforts
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Yuki Sigura

There are lemon tarts and lemon tarts. Good versions, like the one you should be able to produce with this recipe, are good enough to grace Michelin three-star restaurant menus. It is a true test of any cook. Get it right and it’s the best dessert in the world. Get it wrong and not only will it taste rubbish, it will leak all over the oven and take two days to clean up. The pastry must be thin and cooked through; if it’s too thick it will not taste nice. But the real trick is in the oven temperature and knowing when your tart is just done: overcook it and the filling will crack and split; have the oven too hot and the mixture will soufflé up and separate; have the oven too cool and the pastry will go soft and leak. Good luck!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
250g plain flour, plus more to dust
100g cold unsalted butter, chopped, plus more for the tart ring
25g icing sugar
pinch salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
14 eggs
550g caster sugar
700ml double cream
10 large unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest and juiced
icing sugar, to glaze
creme fraiche, to serve

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, icing sugar and salt into a bowl and rub with your fingertips until it has the texture of fine crumbs. Add the egg and mix together until it forms a dough, then knead lightly on a board until smooth. Roll into a ball, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C. Make the filling: break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar, cream, lemon zest and juice and whisk. Strain through a fine sieve, then cover and refrigerate.
  3. Roll the pastry out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour to about 3mm thick. Keep turning the pastry a quarter turn every time you roll it, so you end up with a perfect circle.
  4. Butter the inside of a 25cm, 4.5cmdeep tart ring and a baking sheet. Place the ring on the sheet, then line it with the pastry, carefully lifting the pastry then pressing it into the base, so it hangs over the edge. Line with several sheets of ovenproof cling film or one sheet of baking parchment to hang over by 10cm, then fill with flour, baking beans or raw rice. Fold the cling film or baking parchment back over that and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the cling film or parchment and its contents, brush the inside of the tart with the beaten egg and return to the oven for another three or four minutes until just golden.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
  7. Skim any bubbles from the top of the filling and discard. Remove the tart from the oven, add half the filling, then transfer to the oven shelf. Now pull the oven shelf out and ladle the rest of the filling in, then carefully push the tray back into the oven and bake for one hour. (This lessens the risk of spilling the filling all over the floor!) Remove when it still just wobbles in the centre, then leave to cool to room temperature.
  8. To serve, cut the tart into wedges and dust with icing sugar, then glaze either under the grill or with a blowtorch. Serve with crème fraîche.
Tags:
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
comfort food
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