Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lemon Tart

Lemon tart is one of those classic desserts that hasn’t really changed much over time, and thats good because a classic lemon tart is a thing of beauty, fresh zingy and tart, totally delicious.  I think it is best served on its own if you want to turn into something a bit fancier you could serve it with fresh fruit and vanilla whipped cream, or if you want to create a fab retro lemon meringue pie than top it with the white stuff and hit it with a blow torch, or a creme brulee burnt sugar top. 
Lemon Tart
150g plain flour
50g ground almonds
30g icing sugar
pinch of salt
75g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp ice water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
FillingFinely grated zest of 4 lemons
125g natural golden caster sugar
125ml lemon juice
4 eggs
150ml double cream
For the pastry place the flour, almods, icing sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk, water and vanilla bean paste together and add to the food processor. Pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Tip out onto the worksurface and gently knead until the dough comes together into a uniform mass. Press into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
Lightly grease a 9-inch fluted tart tin (preferably with a removable base) and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Roll out the pastry and line the prepared tart tin. refrigerate for 15 mins until the pastry has firmed up again. Line the tart shell with parchment and fill with a layer of baking beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes then remove the parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the pastry has started to turn golden. Allow the pastry case to cool whilst you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/140C fan.
Place the zest, lemon juice, sugar and eggs into a medium bowl and gently whisk together until smooth. pour in the cream and again gently whisk to combine. You dont want to incorporate air so be careful to whisk nice and gently. Pour the filling into the part baked tart shell and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling has just set. Allow to cool before serving.
Tip: If you worry about a tart with a soggy bottom then  allow the part baked tart shell to cool completely then brush with an egg yolk and allow to set. This creates a seal to prevent moisture from the filling making the pastry soggy.

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