Luscious Lemon Tarte!
With so much feasting to be had over Christmas, it can often be exhausting spending hours in the kitchen preparing canapés, cakes and everything in between! Especially if you are hosting a party or preparing the all important Christmas Day lunch. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly not against the idea of cooking over the festive season, as it can often be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of the festivities. However, for those who fancy a quick and easy recipe which will be sure to wow your guests, or, impress your hosts this season, then look no further than this luscious Lemon Tarte!
I spotted the recipe in a beautifully illustrated cookbook; 'Bake' brought to you by Parragon Books Ltd, Love Food, ⓒ Parragon Books Ltd 2015. This wonderfully comprehensive cookbook, which I thoroughly recommend burying your brows into with a cup of tea, shares baking traditions from all around the world. For quintessentially British favourites, such as; Victoria Sponge Cake, Scones, Crumpets and Cherry Bakewell Tart, look no further! Or, if you fancy rustling up a bake representative of Asia, for example, you can have a crack at making Moon Cakes!
I opted for a French classic, so get your pen and paper at the ready, because for this Lemon Tarte, you will need:
150 g plain flour
90 g unsalted butter (diced)
1 tbsp veg oil
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
100 g caster sugar
85 g unsalted butter (diced)
2 egg yolks
125 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 or 5 Glacé cherries (halved)
1 tbsp Italian mixed peel
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Firstly, prepare the pastry as it will then need to be refrigerated for 20 minutes. Into a bowl, pop all of the ingredients listed under 'Pastry' above. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine the mixture evenly until you have formed a dough.
Gently roll the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film then place into the fridge.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the citrusy lemon filling. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl, and just the yolks of 2 more. Typically for me, one of the yolks split as it came out of its shell! But, that doesn't matter, because soon the eggs will be whisked...
Now set the bowl to one side and prepare the lemons. According to the recipe, you will need 125 ml of squeezed lemon juice, I found that this works out to be the juice of 3 lemons. Squeeze away and then grate the zest of 1 lemon.
Place the lemon juice and zest, 85 g of diced butter and 100 g of caster sugar into a saucepan. Transfer to the hob and place over a medium heat until the butter has melted. Then reduce the heat and beat in the eggs and yolks constantly (the ingredients will stick to the bottom of the pan if you don't!). Keep stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and resembles glossy lemon curd. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Now it's time to retrieve the dough and get rolling. I used my Christmas rolling pin which I was given as a gift one year. As it only comes out during the festive season, I like having an excuse to bake with it!
Roll out your snowmen (ahem, dough I mean!) onto a lightly floured surface. The thickness of the dough wants to be ~5mm.
Next, carefully lay the dough into a tart tin, ideally a 'push pan' if you have one (makes life a lot easier for you once the tart is baked, as it will come away easily from the tin). The recipe suggests trimming the pastry but I find it is best to do this after baking, just incase the pastry shrinks during cooking (you can easily tidy the edges once the tart has cooled down). Prick the surface of the dough and then simply bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. No blind baking is required, hooray!
As soon as the tart is cooked and out of the oven, you can add the filling...
To ensure your tart achieves a glossy, smooth appearance, make sure to pass the lemon and egg mixture through a sieve above the pastry case.
You can then use the back of a spoon to evenly spread the mixture...
Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes, and then leave to cool before decorating or serving.
I went slightly off the beaten track at this stage! I decorated with glacé cherry halves, which I filled with Christmassy sprinkles and a small mound of Italian mixed peel, which I placed in the centre of the tart.
Such an easy showstopper which takes just an hour (give or take) to bake!
The tangy, creamy, gloriously golden filling tastes every bit as decadent and delicious as it looks. I certainly wouldn't hesitate recommending this recipe as a sweet treat to be enjoyed over Christmas.