Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pure Lemon Tart

I decided to call this Pure Lemon Tart simply because unlike classic lemon tarts made with cream, this one doesn't use cream in the lemon filling. The result is a sweet and tangy, curdy and jammy filling that packs a punch, and combined with the tender buttery shortcrust pastry, it's a match made in heaven.

When I was little, I never had any lemon tart other than the one my mum made at home. It was my favourite dessert and I frequently begged her to make it. However, it usually depended on whether lemons were available, or whether they looked fresh, or sometimes it's because my dad prefers lemon pudding to lemon tart (which I still think is not a valid reason not to make it!).

And so, here is mum's recipe for Lemon Tart:

Pure Lemon Tart


150g cold butter, diced into cubes
1 tsp baking powder
225g plain flour
Pinch of salt (about 1/2 tsp)
1 egg yolk (cold) mixed with 1 tbsp ice-cold water
1 tsp lemon juice
A little egg white for brushing

Juice and rind of 1 lemon
45g butter, softened
180g caster sugar
1 large egg

  1. To make the pastry: Sift flour with baking powder and add salt. Combine with butter and rub with fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. Drizzle over the egg-water mixture and lemon juice, mix and gently bring the dough together to form a ball. Take care not to overwork the dough. Cover in clingwrap and rest in fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper into a circle about 3mm thick. Line a 9-inch / 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry. Cut off excess pastry and crimp the edges. Fill up any holes with the excess pastry. Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes to prevent shrinkage while baking.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Blind bake the pastry by lining it with baking paper and filling it with rice/beans/weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the baking paper and weights, and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the base just starts to turn colour. Remove from the oven and brush the inside of the pastry with a little egg white (to seal the pastry and prevent it from getting soggy after the filling is added). Return it to the oven for 1 minute and remove from oven.
  3. While the pastry is baking, you can prepare the lemon filling (takes about 5 minutes). Cream butter and sugar, then beat in egg, rind, followed by the lemon juice. Pour into the baked tart shell and bake in oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until the filling starts to bubble and the top caramelizes to a deep brown colour. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Remove from the tin and place on a serving dish, Cut into wedges and serve. Refrigerate any left over and warm up slightly in the microwave or oven before serving.
Note: If you're one of those who try to reduce the quantity of sugar in recipes, be reminded that if you do, the lemon filling may be too sour, unless you have super sweet lemons! And if you're tempted to add more lemon juice, try not to as there is a chance it might not set properly since there is only 1 egg used in the recipe. Plus it will also be more sour! Happy baking! :)