Friday, April 6, 2012

Best-loved Lemon Tart


My mum has been making this lemon tart since I was a little girl, and it is one of the best-loved desserts in our family. I would like to think that this is the best lemon tart I have ever eaten. I have never known any other version of lemon tart until I came to Australia and noticed that all the lemon tarts sold at cafes and patisseries were different from what I was used to. They were really lemon cream tarts I suppose, as the lemon filling typically contains cream. I have to say that mum's version wins hands down, as I prefer the tart and lemony jam-like filling which is perfectly balanced by the rich, buttery and slighly salty shortcrust pastry. Pure heaven!

It's really hard to stop at just one slice, and I can shamelessly admit to having two or three (or four) slices in one go. The kids love it too, especially the crisp and buttery edges of the tart shell. When I was a kid, I used to break off the edges of the tart as they were my favourite part, and now my kids do the same! I'm glad that they have the chance to enjoy eating the same things I did when I was their age. They will thank me for it when they are older!


I hope that you will try out this wonderful recipe for Lemon Tart, and love it as much as all three generations in our family have.

Lemon Tart Recipe

Ingredients

Pastry:
150g (5 oz) cold salted butter, diced into cubes
1 tsp baking powder
225g (7.5 oz) plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk (cold) mixed with 1 tbsp ice-cold water
1 tbsp ice-cold water (extra)
1 tsp lemon juice
A little egg white for brushing

Filling:
Juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon
45g butter, softened
180g  (6 oz) caster sugar
1 large egg

Method

1. Sift flour with baking powder and add salt. Combine with butter and rub with fingertips until the mixture is crumbly (like breadcrumbs). Drizzle over the egg-water mixture and lemon juice, mix and gently bring the dough together to form a ball. If the dough is not coming together, it's too dry. Slowly add 1 tbsp of ice-cold water or just enough for it to come together to form a smooth dough. Take care not to overwork / overknead the dough. Cover in clingwrap and rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Grease the base and sides of a 9-inch / 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin and lightly dust with flour. Shake off excess flour.

3. Roll out the pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper into a circle about 4mm thick. Line the 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.

4. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). 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 then remove from the oven (unless you have prepared the filling by now, then simply pour the filling into the tart shell and bake).

5. While the pastry is baking, you can prepare the lemon filling. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar, then beat in egg and rind until fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice. Pour into the baked tart shell and bake in the oven at 180C for about 15-20 minutes or until the filling starts to bubble and the top starts to caramelize or turn light brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

6. Carefully remove the tart from the tin and place on a serving plate. Using a sharp knife, cut into wedges and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Note: You can use a food processor to make the pastry dough if you have one. That's what I used :)

Unbaked tart shell

6 comments:

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

This is sure to be a hit in my home as well! Love this idea!

Mel said...

I believe my family would loves this version of tart too. I shall bookmark this for my next baking list.

Hyosun Ro said...

That looks yummy! I wouldn't have a problem eating 2 or 3 slices of it either. Thanks for sharing your mom's recipe. I love lemon tart, so will definitely try it.

Quay Po Cooks said...

I like citrus tarts. Lemon is one of my favorites. Looks lip smacking!

Janine said...

I'm used to lemon curd tarts but not baked lemon tarts like yours - definitely trying it out after your description!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Now, why did I call them lemon cream tarts??? Haha... Let me know if you like this version :)