Lemon Tart

You may have already guessed this, but I’ve got a bit of a thing for puddings. It comes out with a vengence when the weather is dull and I want nothing more than to scoff a chocolate tart, whip up some pancakes and slather everything in toffee sauce goodness. It usually disappears when the sun comes out, but I’m stuck in a rainy April so not really sure where I stand. I need zesty spring flavour that has the heritage of a proper pudding. So I settle on Lemon tart.

This recipe is a real winner and inspired by an old Mrs Beeston book I discovered hunting round a boot fair. Mrs Beeston gives plenty of tips, but using a squeeze of lemon juice in the shortcrust pastry seems to make it that little bit crispier. Plus adding in Jamie Oliver’s tip of using egg wash when blind baking gives it a little waterproof force field ensuring a super crispy base.

The Crust
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
125 cubed or grated and butter.
squeeze of half a lemon
100ml iced water

Sift the flour and salt into the food processor, add the butter and blitz away until it looks like breadcrumbs. In a bowl add about a third of the lemon juice water to the mixture. Bring everything together until there are no dry lumps of flour. Carefully make a ball with the pastry then flatten and cover in cling film. Pop in the fridge to chill.

The Tart 
150g caster sugar
90ml double cream
6 egg yolks
1 beaten egg
150g butter, melted
40g ground almonds
zest and juice of 2 large lemons. Go for half lime, half lemon if you want a real zing!

I know I’ve banged on about this before, but it’s important to have chilled pastry. Make sure it’s been in the chiller for at least an hour before using it. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and place in a pie dish, leaving extra pastry hanging over the edge. Then line the  pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beans. I’m not organised enough to own baking beans so I used dry rice.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and bake the pasty for 35 minutes, until firm and brown. Remove the paper beans or rice, brush the base with the beaten egg and bake for another 5 minutes.  Remove and reduce the oven down to 120 degrees.

Now make your filling by beating together the sugar and cream. Then beat in the egg yolks. Slowly beat in the melted butter, adding just a little at a time. Fold in the almonds with all the lemon juice and zest.  Pour in the cooled pastry case and bake for 40 minutes, or until set.

Trim the pastry hanging over the edge with a sharp knife and wait impatiently for it to cool to room temperature. This is probably the hardest bit, so let’s say an hours wait at the least. Enjoy.

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