13:16 | Posted by Nim Headland | Category

Lemon Tart

Some people are pudding people. The type that can eat a huge meal and still fall upon a plate of their preferred sweet thing with unrestrained passion. I know trifle people, tiramasu people, chocolate brownie people. As a general rule I am not really a pudding person, I normally prefer cheese or a square or two of dark chocolate. This is because I am so greedy that I often eat myself into an uncomfortable food coma when offered too many courses. The exception is lemon desserts. I appear, I now know, to be a a lemon person. Something lemony manages to cut through a big, rich meal and somehow take the edge off the over-full feeling. That's quite clever considering that you're eating more.

This is Heston Blumenthal's lemon tart recipe, recently featured in his Waitrose campaign and currently causing a big lemony argument all over the internet. People have not been happy with this recipe. Apparently there are typos in the recipe itself, the texture of the pie filling is wrong, it doesn't set and leaks all over their fridge and it isn't even really a lemon tart at all.

Hold up. I LOVED this recipe. What's the fuss about? The biggest gripe was the stirring bit. You're supposed to stir the filling for 15-20 mins over a medium heat, not boiling, and then allow to simmer for 5 seconds. My fellow tart makers say this must be a typo, it's not nearly enough time and that's why the filling doesn't set, etc. I think this is the perfect point to illustrate just how hard it is to write recipes, and why you really should get a little more involved with your cooking as opposed to just following a recipe blindly. Right, listen here: You don't want the filling to simmer for too long because the eggs will cook, but you do want your filling to thicken a little, else of course it won't set. So let it simmer for 5 seconds. Is it thicker? No? Let it simmer just a little longer until it thickens slightly. Mine took 20 seconds. I guess it will take less time if you're cooking on gas and longer if, like me, your hobs are electric. Also, bear in mind that this is really a lemon curd tart. It doesn't have a hard set, but it should set enough not to run out of the case completely when you cut a slice.

It isn't a traditional lemon tart, But it is delicious, light and dare I say a little more interesting than the traditional version. Easier too. It's lovely, summery, and seriously lemony but still sweet enough. Here's the recipe, not quite as written by Waitrose.

Heston's Lemon Tart

What You Need:

Zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 3-4 lemons, to make 150ml
170g butter (sweet, unsalted) cubed.
4 large or 5 medium eggs, beaten.
I egg yolk
220g caster sugar. The recipe states unrefined, but I only had normal and it was fine.
375g defrosted shortcrust cheats pastry. I used jus-rol, it is my saviour.
Cream to serve I think, and maybe a few raspberries.

What You Do:

Don't juice your lemons before zesting, will you? Silly person. Zest, then rub them around on a hard surface to make them give up more juice. Juice the lemons into a jug, then sieve into a bowl to get rid of any pith and stray pips.

Get a fairly decent sized saucepan, and heat the lemon juice, zest, butter, sugar and eggs (including the single yolk) over a medium heat for 15-20 mins. Stir constantly, allowing the butter to melt and the sugar to dissolve. Don't allow to boil. Stirring isn't so bad. Put the radio on, enjoy the smell of the lemons and allow yourself to be soothed. Turn the heat up just a little, and while still stirring, allow to simmer. Watch carefully, take it off the heat as soon as it begins to thicken slightly, 5-20 secs should do it. Pass the mix through a fine sieve into a bowl, and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming. Pop in the fridge for half an hour-ish. ( I promise it won't be a problem if it hangs around in the cold for an hour while you deal with the pastry).

Preheat your oven, 180c, gas 4. Roll out the pastry between two bits of clingfilm, nice and thin, about 2mm but not so thin it has holes in or it will leak all over your fridge, won't it? Using the rolling pin, wrestle your pastry over a 23cm fluted tart tin and push in to fit the edges. Trim off a bit, but not all of the over hang, you need to accommodate shrinkage in the oven. Prick the the pastry bottom with a fork a few times, then cover with parchment and put a handful of baking beans or coins on top. Chuck into the oven and leave well alone for 20 mins. Remove the parchment and return to the oven for another 10 mins. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool before running a knife around the overhang and very, very gently easing it out of it's tin. Pop it on your serving plate and pour in the lemon filling before returning the whole thing to the fridge, again covered in clingfilm to stop a skin forming. I left mine for hours, the recipe says 2 but I doubt it would set well enough in that time unless your fridge is super cold. I'm not upset about that really, I just think of it as a dessert that I can easily make a day or two in advance.

Serve cold, with cream and maybe raspberries or blueberries. It is soooo good.

PS: No picture, sorry. My camera ran out of batteries, and when I suggested that we wait to eat the tart while my camera charged a bit, I was given murderous looks. I can tell you that it was a bit scruffy, but well set and very delicious.


joy said...

sounds great, doesn't anyone else in your house own a camera?
I'm very definitely a banoffee person myself.

Nimlet said...

Of course, but you try making someone go and dig out a camera when they have something tasty in front of them :-) Oohh I hate banoffee. I wonder if there's some science behind why we all have different tastes and don't all like the same things... interesting.

Anonymous said...

I don't like banoffee but it's probably because of those nasty frozen banoffee pies Tims mum buys!

I'm a bit of a fan of lemon myself, normally cheesecake but this sounds delicious, I may have to try it!

Nimlet said...

Oohh Lemon cheesecake. Do you have a recipe? Lets have a pudding swap! x

Post a Comment