Classic Lemon Tart

Sometimes in life I think it is best to get straight to the point…….

COOKING A CLASSIC LEMON TART IS NO EASY FEAT

However,  I have been fine tuning this recipe now for sometime (I had a few disasters on the pastry front) so I think that if you follow my instructions carefully you should be rewarded with a delicious dessert that will wow your friends into thinking you a natural patisserie chef in the making.

My blog has been up and running for one year now (….jumps for joy…) and after looking through all the recipes I have shared with you I realise that I have tended to ignore the sweeter things in life. This is largely because I rarely eat puddings – I just don’t really have a sweet tooth and I guess part of it stems from the fact that, for the most part, I don’t think they are massively healthy. Then again the old adage of ‘everything in moderation’ is so true, so perhaps over the coming year you may find a few more sweet recipes to tempt you.

So to the recipe in hand. Scroll through the photos below and read the tips I have added to prepare a perfect lemon tart. Let me know if you find any other tweeks necessary that you would like to share with the wider community. I would always love to hear from you.

I prepare the pastry a day ahead and leave it in the fridge. Bring it out of the fridge at least an hour before rolling so that it can acclimatise to room temperature.

Thoroughly grease the loose bottom tart tin with butter. This is really important as you want the tin to come away easily from the pastry after cooking. Failing to do so will result in the sides of your tart breaking.

Sprinkle flour on the surface that you are going to roll the pastry. I have found that to transfer the rolled pastry to the tin is virtually impossible as some of it breaks off. Do not be alarmed. Place as much of the pastry in the tin as you can and with the bits that have broken off simply piece together.  Also make sure that the pastry is sufficiently up the sides so that it is evenly spread.

Remember the bottom of the flan is not going to be seen by a wider audience as you have the lemon mixture going on top of it.

Make sure you have enough ceramic baking beans/and or mixed beans to cover the whole of the tart dish. You want to make sure that they are evenly spread.

Do not whisk the eggs so that they are frothy. A gentle whisk, using a hand whisk is suffice.

Don’t forget to strain the creamy lemon mixture before transferring into the tart base. You want the mixture to be smooth.

I added some raspberries to compliment the lemon tart in both appearance and taste. Strawberries would also be a great addition.

A scattering of icing sugar adds the finishing touch. I noticed a little hand popping into the frame of my photo just as I had taken the shot. Clearly too irresistible not to eat!

Classic Lemon Tart

Serves around 12 people

Adapted from the recipe in Red Magazine April 2012  

I use an 11 inch (29cm by 4cm) tart dish

For the pastry

300g plain flour

45g ground almonds

pinch of salt

200g butter, keep at room temperature and cut into cubes

4 tbsp caster sugar

3 egg yolks

1 1/2 (one and half) tbsp cold water

For the filling

300 ml double cream

zest of 2 lemons

juice of 8/9 lemons (so that it measures 200ml juice)

6 eggs

200g white caster sugar

1. If you can make the pastry a day in advance. If not make the pastry and leave to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Ideally using a food processor, pulse the flour, ground almonds and pinch of salt and then add the butter followed by the caster sugar. Add the add yolks and water and whizz together until the mixture forms a large clump. Work the pastry into a neat ball and wrap in clingfilm and place into the fridge, either over night or for around 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees if using a fan oven or 200 degrees if not or gas mark 6.

3. Grease the tart dish throughly. On a cold surface sprinkle some flour and roll out the pastry and transfer, as best you can, to the tart dish. If it breaks simply press the remaining pastry pieces together to cover the gaps. Make sure the pastry has sufficiently gone into all the grooves of the dish. You will probably find that you have a little pastry left over, which you can either use to make a mini tart or use as you see fit.

4. Place baking paper into the tart dish and cover with baking beans. Place in the oven for 20 minutes to bake blind. Take out of the oven and discard the baking paper and save the baking beans for another time.  Brush the pastry with egg yolk and return to the oven for a maximum of 5 more minutes. Then leave to rest before putting in the lemon mixture.

5. Put the cream in a pan with the lemon zest to infuse gently. When small bubbles appear turn off the heat.

6. Break the eggs into a bowl along with the caster sugar. Using a hand whisk gently stir together – you do not want to make them frothy so do not over do it here. Stir in the lemon juice and very slowly, so as not to cook the eggs, add the warm lemon zest cream.

7. Place the tart shell onto an oven tray and then sieve the lemon mixture into bowl/jug and gently pour into the warmed pastry tart shell. Transfer to the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 18 minutes. Keep checking for the lemon mixture to set (it becomes nicely firm and does not wobble when you move the tray!!) as you may find you can bring it out of the oven a touch sooner than this.  I left mine in for 20 minutes (as the Red Magazine recipe states) but found that it darkens some of the pastry too much (have a close inspection of final photo !).

8. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Gently remove only the outer part of the tart dish. Serve at room temperature.  Add icing sugar, raspberries to decorate as required.


No more cold cuts please – Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and loved ones and that it was not too stressful if you were the one in charge of feeding the masses. We always end up with loads of turkey and ham/gammon leftovers and whilst cold cuts are delicious for maybe one or two sittings, any more than that and one craves for variety. I felt a good old fashioned pie would be the perfect way to use up some of the leftovers and fill the bellies of my guests. Whilst I had every intention of following the recipe on  ‘lovefoodhatewaste’ I ended up deviating off a lot to the extent that I think it is better to describe the recipe on the site as giving me ‘inspiration’. I found that the dish to be a hit and it was polished off completely in one sitting.

Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie

serves 8

450g turkey, (or chicken) cut into small sized chunks

350g ham/gammon, cut into small sized chunks

5 leeks, chopped

2 celery, chopped

100g mushrooms, chopped

2 tsp of cornflour

1-1.5 litres of turkey stock

pinch of salt

black pepper

400g of shortcrust pastry or ready made

1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Evenly chop the celery, leeks and mushrooms and place most of them on the bottom of the pie dish. (The dish I used was 35cm length by 24cm width). This will allow the vegetables to cook properly through when they are in the oven.

3. Cut the turkey and ham into small sized chunks and scatter over the vegetables along with the remainder of the vegetables that you put to one side.

4. If you have any turkey stock left over use that, otherwise, use chicken stock cubes, such as knorr. I also had some juices left from the ham so I managed to combine these into the stock as well giving it a really delicious taste. Add approximately 1.5 litres of stock to the pan and warm it through completely. Place 2 teaspoons of cornflower into a small bowl along with a couple of tablespoons of cold water. Stir until the cornflour is smooth and watery and add to the stock to thicken it. As an alternative to stock, you could use a tin or two of Campbell’s chicken soup so as to give it a creamier consistency.

5. Add the stock over the meat and vegetables and using your hands try and make sure all the pieces are covered to some degree in the stock. Add salt and pepper to season.

Easy Shortcrust Pastry

400g plain flour

200g butter, cubed

2-3 tbsp of cold water

6. To make your own pastry, simply place the plain flour into a large mixing bowl along with the cubed butter (room temperature is best). Using your finger tips gently mix the butter and flour together so that it begins to crumble. Using a knife stir in a little water into the dough so that it binds together. If you put in too much water just add a little extra flour. Once the dough has come together, form a ball and cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

7. Roll the pastry out onto a cold floured surface. Once it is larger than your pie dish gently place it over the top of your filling making sure the extra pastry hangs over the sides. I find it is best to use the rolling pin to place it gently on top. Press down at the edges using your finger and thumb so that the pastry is completely secure. Using a knife cut the extra pastry that is hanging over the sides. You can then get creative on the top of your pie using the left over pastry.

8. To help give your pie the perfect brown glow, gently brush the top of the pie with your beaten egg.

9. Using a fork place a few fork marks over the top of your pastry so that it can let out the air within the body of the pie when cooking.

10. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, checking to see that it does not brown too much. Serve immediately with peas and new potatoes.