Not to be confused with a Lemon Tart, i.e. a home-made, sticky, lemon curd bake, a “tarte au citron” is something you’re more likely to find in a french patisserie.
Using no less than 9 eggs [3 in the pastry, 6 in the filling] you’d expect this tart to taste “eggy”, but it doesn’t! The filling is light, lemony and a bit tart, encased in a thin, sweet pastry case. It’s not the sort of dessert you "get stuck into”. Instead you eat delicate bites… slowly, like sipping a strong digestif.
It’s a creation of elegance that can be achieved at home and baked earlier in the day as a dinner party dessert. The hardest part is rolling the pastry out as it’s quite delicate, but making your own pastry is, as always, well worth it. Give it a go!
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
grated zest of an unwaxed lemon
3 large egg yolks
250g plain flour
150g caster sugar
3 lemons, juiced and zest removed
225ml double cream
Icing sugar to sprinkle on top
You’ll also need:
a 24cm loose-bottomed quiche tin
Make the Pastry:
Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor.
Add the lemon zest and mix together.
With the blades running add the egg yolks gradually.
Add the flour and mix until combined and the pastry starts coming together. Do not over mix or the pastry will become tough.
Remove the pastry from the food processor and turn out onto a work surface. Bring the pastry together using your hands and shape into a flat disk. Cover in cling film and chill until ready to roll out, at least 30 minutes.
Make the Filling:
Put the eggs into a stand mixer or a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well together using a balloon whisk. Add the lemon zest and juice and then the cream. Mix together until well combined. Chill in the fridge for as long as possible.
Make the Pastry Case:
Roll out the pastry carefully. [It’s quite fragile and can be hard to work with but preserve and use plenty of flour when rolling out to avoid the pastry sticking to the work surface]. It should be big enough to line your quiche tin.
Gently line the quiche tin making sure the pastry goes into every dent of the tin. Cover with cling film, place on a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
Blind bake the pastry for 10 - 15 mins. (Blind bake; remove the pastry from the fridge, line with baking parchment ensuring it comes over the edges. Fill the parchment paper with the baking beans, then put the pastry in the oven.)
Take the pastry out, remove the parchment paper and beans and bake again for 5 minutes.
[*Optional - At this point I like to seal the pastry to ensure none of the filling leaks through the pastry. To do this, paint a beaten egg white lightly over the pastry bottom and sides using a pastry brush and bake again for 2 minutes. If you feel confident that you have a sound pastry case you can skip this step.]
Turn the oven temperature down to 150°C/300°C.
Fill the Case & Bake:
Strain the filling mixture into a jug and then pour it into the pastry case until it is nearly full. Place the baking sheet in the oven and then carefully top up the filling in the case until is almost full to the brim.
Bake for 45 minutes until almost set, with a soft wobble across the surface.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little. Remove the sides and bottom of the tin and leave to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar.
Serve with a good cup of coffee and a smug smile ;)