Andrew’s Lemon Tart

* * NOTICE * *

It is with pleasure that I bring to you the first guest post on the Patient Cook, provided by Andrew – master and maker of all lemon tarts in our household.

The filling for this tart is based on a Heston Blumenthal recipe, which I’ve altered slightly to do away with a couple of Heston’s more outrageous extravagances. I’ve also replaced Heston’s pastry (which I found to be too fragile to work with easily) with my go-to version. You can use shop-bought pastry, but making your own is worth it. Warning: this makes a pretty big tart, but in my experience it’s always swiftly consumed. 

Serves: Makes one large lemon tart (serves six or eight greedy people, or ten or twelve regular people)
Cooking Time: Preparation 15 minutes, cook 25-35 minutes, plus time to make and blind-bake pastry

Ingredients

+ 1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry + 5 lemons, juiced and finely zested
+ 8 eggs + 300ml pure cream + 390g caster sugar + 1 kitchen thermometer (it’s important)

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll out the pastry and use it to line the base and sides of a large, loose-based tart tin, leaving some pastry hanging over the sides of the tin. Place in refrigerator for half an hour (this allows the gluten in the pastry to relax, which will minimise shrinkage as it bakes). Meanwhile, whisk together the filling ingredients in a heatproof bowl. Blind bake the pastry for 20 minutes (Heston suggests using baking paper and coins for blind baking, as they conduct heat very well, but you can use baking beads or the traditional rice or lentils), then remove the baking paper and coins/beads/lentils and bake for a further 10 minutes or until brown on the bottom. Remove and allow to cool. Place the bowl with the filling ingredients over a saucepan of boiling water. While stirring, heat the filling to 60°C, using the thermometer, then remove from the heat. At this point you may want to strain the filling through a sieve, depending on whether you like bits of lemon zest in your tart (I do). Reduce the oven temperature to 130°C. Place the tart shell back in the oven. Pull the shelf out a bit and slowly and carefully pour the tart filling into the shell (this means you won’t have to do the Baking Shuffle carrying the full tart case to the oven). The tart is done when you shake the tin slightly and the filling holds together like a solid but still has a bit of wobble. This should take about 25 minutes, but don’t be afraid to go longer or shorter. Serve chilled with cream or ice cream (or both!). Guest post, written by the husband. Filling based on Heston Blumenthal recipe.

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