The lemon tart

I have made various recipes and variations on the lemon tart over the years but what I want from a perfect lemon tart is one that has that just set lemon custard.   This tart tastes of pure lemon flavour, it has that zingy sharp awake-your-tastebuds kind of flavour, with enough sugar to make the bitterness palatable but still allowing the sharpness of lemon to linger on.  The custard melts as if thick cream and the buttery pastry delivers a crumbly contrast.    This is my perfect lemon tart.

The mixture itself could not be easier to make, place all of the four ingredients in a blender for one minute, sieve it onto the pastry shell and bake.

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Human brain loves fat

What makes this tart so satisfying is fat, it has the fat of double cream to carry the flavour through delivering that viscosity that our human brain has evolved to seek out.  Research carried out at the University of Nottingham showed how the human brain reacted the most when eating 30% fat during an MRI scan.  Our brain reacted to the 5% and 10% fat as expected but with the 30% fat there was further areas that were stimulated, the area that detects texture and reward also reacted.

To cook a lemon tart is the same as baking a custard tart, creme brulée or a chocolate fondant pudding, it’s about oven temperature and removing the tart before it sets too firmly.  The tart will carry on cooking once out of the oven.  Don’t go by the timing of the recipe, use it as a guide.

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Lemon Tart

Pastry

  • 225g / 8 oz plain flour
  • 112g / 4 oz butter (if using unsalted add 1/4 tsp of salt)
  • 56g / 2 oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15 ml / 1 tablespoon of milk

Pre-heat oven temperature Fan 180˚C / 200˚F
Tart tin 23cm / 9 inch

Look through here on how to make pastry by hand.  And here on how to make pastry by food processor

Important: after baking the tart shell turn oven temperature down to  fan 140˚C 

 

Filling

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 medium size lemons, zested and juiced
  • 300g / 10.5 oz caster sugar
  • 284 ml / 10 floz double cream
  • icing sugar to brulée the top

Place all of the ingredients in a liquidizer and blitz for one minute.  Sieve it and pour into the prepare pastry shell.  Easier to place the pastry shell already in the oven shelve and then pour the liquid using a jug into the pastry shell, that way it won’t spill.  Bake between 30-40 mins until the custard has just set.

When you place you finger on top of the middle it should be set but only just, it will have a slight wobble when pressed, it will carry on cooking once removed and cooling.  If you want to caramalise the top sieve icing sugar over the tart so it covers it in a single layer and using a blow torch burn the sugar until it changes colour to a deep golden colour.

Making the filling

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Mix all of the filling ingredients in a liquidizer and blitz for one minute, and sieve it into a jug and poured into your baked pastry shell.  Once your pastry is blind baked (photo here is of uncooked pastry shell by the way) pour the filling in and bake until just set.

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