Summer is coming, so I thought it’s time for a fresh and tasty citrus flavoured treat. This lemon tart has an extremely smooth and creamy filling bursting with zesty lemon flavour. There is no starch in the filling, so it is not like lemon curd at all. This is as smooth and light as it gets. Paired with a delicate short pastry base it is dessert perfection.
It was my second time making this tart. The first being many years ago when I made it as part of a culinary course. The original recipe is by Heston Blumenthal.
It will fit perfectly in a 25cm (10in) x 2.5cm (1in) round tart case. You can make smaller individual tarts if you want to.
In order for the filling to be as smooth as it can be it should be cooked to only 70C (158F). This of course means that the eggs will not be fully cooked. If you are worried about it, then cook the filling to 75C (167F).
Here in the UK chicken eggs are extremely unlikely to give you salmonella. But if someone has certain heath conditions or if they’re pregnant, then I would suggest cooking the filling to 75C (167F). It will still give you an amazing result.
If you don’t want to make a hole in the filling, then just bake it for 30 minutes and it will be done for sure.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the pastry –
250g (8.8oz) plain flour
125g (4.4oz) cold butter, cut into cubes
2g (0.07oz) salt
100g (3.5oz) icing sugar
3 egg yolks
5g (0.17oz) vanilla paste
1 lemon worth of zest
1 whole egg for glazing
For the filling –
170g (6oz) lemon juice and the zest of the lemons that were used for the juice. I used 4 lemons.
220g (7.75oz) thick cream
260g (9.2oz) caster sugar
350g (12.3oz) eggs (7 medium eggs)
- Make the pastry. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, and butter cubes. Crumble until the mix is uniform and has a sandy texture.
- Sift the icing sugar into a separate bowl. Add the lemon zest, vanilla paste, and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth.
- Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix to a dough.
- Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm, and refrigerate for 1 hour to solidify the pastry and make it easier to work with. You can make it a day ahead of time if you like.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C (338F) fan on or 190C (374F) fan off for 30 minutes before you start rolling the pastry.
- Roll the pastry between two sheets of non-stick paper. Measure it and make sure that it fits the tart case. Remove 20g (0.7oz) of the pastry at some point and leave it on the side. It will be used for glazing later.
- Grese the tart case and lay the pastry inside it. Gently mould it to fit the tart case. It is quite delicate, but don’t worry if it breaks. Just patch it up and continue. Trim the edge, but make sure there is a lip. If your tart case does not have a lip, then don’t trim the pastry, and leave it hanging over the edge to prevent it from sliding down as it bakes.
- Poke the surface with a fork to prevent the pastry from blowing up. Lay down a scrunched-up piece of non-stick paper to fit the case perfectly. Fill with baking beans or rice. Press it down to fill the case properly.
- Bake the pastry for 20 minutes.
- While the pastry is baking make the glaze. Whisk the 20g of pastry you removed earlier with the whole egg to create a liquid pastry glaze.
- Once 20 minutes are up remove the tart case from the oven and remove the baking beans and non-stick paper from the tart case. Brush the whole surface of the pastry with the glaze.
- Bake the pastry for 10 more minutes. If you want to trim the edge of the tart case, then do it after it comes out the oven and before you add the filling.
- Make the filling. In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until smooth. Add the thick cream and whisk again.
- Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water set on medium heat making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Warm the filling to 60C (140F) while gently stirring. This will take a while depending on the size of the pot. It took me 10 minutes, but if you use a larger pot, it will take a lot less time.
- Set the oven to 100C (212F) fan on or 120C (248F) fan off and place the tart case inside to get warmed up.
- Once the filling is up to temperature pour it into a jug and remove any large bubbles from the surface (a blowtorch would work perfectly here). Pour the filling into the tart case while it is in the oven. Fill it up as high as possible. There may be a little leftover filling.
- Cook the tart for 25 – 30 minutes or until the filling has reached your desired temperature. The higher the temperature the more solid the filling will be. I would not go over 75C (167F).
- Refrigerate the tart until it is completely cold. Remove from the case and serve it up.
The best way to cut it is by running a knife under hot water, wiping it dry and then cutting. You will get the cleanest cut that way.
Watch the video here