I don’t know about you, but something about the summer sun always makes me crave citrus flavours. This weekend I decided to give into temptation and try out a new recipe on my family. The combination of the crumbly texture of sweet shortcrust pastry alongside the spongy and sticky lemon custard works so well together, I challenge anyone to take a bite and not fall in love with it!
I think the amount of sugar and lemon juice used in this recipe compliment each other perfectly, and ensure that this Tarte au Citron is neither too sickly nor too bitter.
This recipe is perfect for those that are comfortable with making pastry in the kitchen, but pre-made pastry/pastry cases work just as well for those beginners who still want to try it out!
Ingredients (8 Servings)
Pastry (Enough to line a 23cm Tart Tin):
250g Plain Flour
70g Icing Sugar
125g Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes)
2 Egg Yolks
140g Caster Sugar
150ml Double Cream
Juice of 3 Large Lemons (Around 100-150ml)
Zest of 2 Large Lemons
For the Pastry:
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and icing sugar, before rubbing the butter in with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. At this stage, slowly add the egg yolks so the pastry starts to stick together, and mix in until all the egg has been used and the pastry binds together. If the pastry is still too dry, and is crumbling instead of binding together, add 1-2 tbsp of water until it comes together.
Remove the pastry from the bowl, roll it into a ball with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and leave it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once the pastry has been chilled, roll it out on a floured surface until it is as thick as a £1 coin, then lift it into the tart tin. Gently press down on the bottom and the sides before trimming any excess pastry. If the pastry tears at this stage, I fill the ripped area with excess pastry by lightly pressing it into the gap and surrounding pastry.
After the tart tin has been lined with pastry, use a fork and gently prick the bottom before putting it back into the fridge and chilling for an additional 30 minutes. At this stage I usually make the filling of the tart (see below)!
After this final cooling period, heat the oven to 160C/140C Fan Oven/325F/Gas Mark 3 and remove the tart tin from the fridge. Line the tin with foil and fill with rice, dried beans or baking beans and bake for 10 minutes. Once these 10 minutes are up, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the pastry is biscuity.
When the pastry has this biscuit texture, add the lemon filling to the tart and bake in the oven for a further 30-35 minutes, or until it is set.
Once set, remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool, before dusting it with icing sugar.
For The Filling:
In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients (except the lemon zest) until smooth.
I often find at this stage sieving the mixture will improve the smooth texture of the filling, and sieving this mixture into a measuring jug makes for easy pouring into the pastry case!
Once sieved into the jug, carefully spoon in and stir the lemon zest in, trying not to agitate the mixture too much (we want to avoid bubbles to keep the filling smooth in the finished tart).
On a few occasions, I have been left with excess lemon filling after making the tart, and find that this can be used to make a lemon posset-style pudding that is just as refreshing and a little less calorific due to the lack of pastry!
Equally pour any excess filling into small (I use 2.5″ wide) ramekins. Place these ramekins into a deep oven dish that has been filled with enough warm water to cover half the side of the ramekins (you don’t want any water spilling into the ramekins in the oven)!
Place the oven tray into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. This time will vary depending on the depth of the ramekins used, so it is better to use firmness of the pudding to determine when it is ready to come out of the oven.
Once the puddings have set, remove from the oven, leave to cool and enjoy!