The amazing lemon tart! Such a delight with its soft and delicate curd filling. This is a dessert to finish all meals, it brings incredible happiness and total satisfaction. It does require a bit of planning and it isn't the easiest thing to make, but you will never regret it and make it over and over again. It is best made the night before or several hours before its needed. This recipe is made with egg yolks, so if you care for extra sweetness and decadence you can always whip up the egg whites with sugar and top this base with a pillowy meringue. The recipe calls for a sweet shortcrust pastry, you can add lemon zest to it for a little extra punch or leave it as is. I absolutely love the simplicity of this french classic. Stunning.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (makes about 500g)
50g icing sugar
Put flour, icing sugar and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles bread crumbs. Add egg and pulse for a few seconds until the dough just comes together. If it still seems too dry add a tablespoon of water. Try not to over process as this makes the dough tough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a dough, kneading very lightly. Shape into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before needed and allow to rest.
300g sweet shortcrust pastry
juice of 2 lemons
175g castor sugar
6 large organic egg yolks
250ml double cream
To prepare the pastry case, roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick. Line a 20cm flan tin with the pastry, press well into the sides and leave a small amount (about 2-3mm) above the sides. This will shrink down slightly while baking. Prick gently all over with a fork. Cover with cling film and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 190C. Remove pastry case from the freezer. Line with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove beans and paper. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5-15 minutes until the base is completely cooked through and the edges are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven. Reduce temperature to 140C. Allow the pastry case to cool slightly. In a bowl whisk together the ingredients for the filling, being careful not to aerate the mixture too much. Return the pastry case to the oven and pull the shelf out so that the tin remains level. Pour the filling into the case right up to the top. Push the shelf back into the oven carefully. Bake for 30 minutes, just until the filling looks slightly set and there is a wobble in the centre. Turn the oven off and allow to cool and set over night or for several hours. The surface of the tart should be glossy with very few bubbles. Dust with icing sugar, leave as is or top with meringue. Serve at room temperature.