Classic Lemon Tart

I think there is only one food that I really don’t like. Well, one common everyday food that is- not including strange things like snails! Lemons. I’ve always thought they tasted like washing up liquid – Lemonade, lemon sweets and lemon cakes. However my family do not share my dislike. In fact, lemon tart is one of my Dad’s favourite deserts and he often orders it when we go out for dinner. 

I haven’t had a lot of experience making tarts so this weekend I thought I would try a ‘technical bake’ (to quote the Great British Bake Off!) and treat my Dad at the same time; Fathers Day is only a few weeks away after all!  

This week was also quite exciting as my parents’ kitchen is in the process of undergoing a refurbishment. So far the hob, sink and work surfaces have all been changed (as you may be able to tell from comparing the pictures in this blog with previous weeks) and it looks amazing. 

This recipe is taken from a baking book my Grandpa bought for me recently called Cake O’Clock by Good Housekeeping.  

For the sweet shortcrust pastry – 
150g plain flour
75g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar
2 large egg yolks

For the filling –
1 large egg, plus 4 large yolks
150g caster sugar
grated zest of 4 lemons
150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
150ml double cream

1. Make the pastry by combining the flour and icing sugar and then rubbing in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add the egg yolks and a drop of water (if necessary) to bring the mixture together until it holds. 
2. Knead the dough lightly to form a ball and wrap tightly in cling film. Then chill for 30 minutes.
3. Grease and flour a deep, loose-based flan tin. 
4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worksurface into a circle large enough to line the tin (including the sides) and then carefully transfer the pastry to the tin. Perform any surgery patch ups and trim the excess.
5. Prick the base with a fork and chill for a further 30 minutes. 
6. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Bake the pastry case blind (using baking parchment and baking beans) for 15-20 minutes before removing the parchment and baking for a further 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Reduce from the oven and reduce the temperature to 170 degrees. 

7. Meanwhile, to make the filling put the whole egg, egg yolks and caster sugar into a bowl and beat together until smooth. Then carefully stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and cream.
8. Ladle 3/4 of the filling into the pastry case. Then position the tin on the oven shelf and ladle in the remainder of the filling. 
9. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling bounces back when touched lightly in the centre. 
10. Cool for 30 minutes to serve warm or cool completely and chill. 
11. Serve with a big dollop of clotted cream and a dusting of icing sugar!

Despite my lifelong dislike for all things lemony, I had to try a tiny slice for my baking development. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve been converted, the lemony flavour was very nice – not at all like washing up liquid! The pastry was cooked perfectly if I do say so myself, no soggy bottoms, and the lemon filling set perfectly. 

I was very pleased with my first technical bake – I think Mary and Paul would be impressed and there were certainly no complaints from my family who wolfed it down within 24 hours! 

Until next week,
Hannah xx

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