This is not your regular tarte au citron, but rather an utterly luxurious version, fit for a very special occasion!
This lemon tart does require some work but it is absolutely worth the effort. I make mine with a Pâte Sucrée but you may use store bought sweet pastry if you do not want to put in the time or effort to make your own.
250g plain flour
100g butter, cubed
100g icing sugar, sifted
a pinch of salt
Add the flour, cubed butter, sifted icing sugar and salt to a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Shake up the mixture in between blitzing so that you get all of the flour to mix with the butter.
Now add the eggs to a small bowl and give them a good whisk.
Switch the machine on and start adding the egg a few drops at time. This is very important: if you add too much of the egg you will have a dough that can’t be rolled out. Add JUST enough egg for the mixture to come together – you will probably use one and a half egg.
Take the mixture out of the food processor and on a lightly floured surface, fold and knead with the palm of your hand – about 8 times or so, for the dough to come together.
You should now have a silky smooth pastry dough. Wrap it in plastic and rest it in the refrigerator for two hours.
If you are using a store bought short crust pastry, you have to follow the next steps.
Lining and blind baking the pastry crust:
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Grease a flan tin or a loose bottomed cake tin that is 22cm in diameter and at least 4cm deep.
Roll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of about 3mm.
Line the bottom and sides of the tin and prick the bottom evenly with the tines of a fork.
Line the pastry with baking paper and baking beans and bake blind for 20 minutes.
Remove the tin and quickly remove the paper and beans.
Place back into the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Cool on a cooling rack, without fiddling with the pan.
375g caster sugar
300ml double cream
30g icing sugar, to dust or brûlée
Grate the zest from the lemons and set aside.
Juice the lemons and strain the juice through a sieve. Set aside.
Add the eggs and sugar to a mixing bowl and mix with an electric whisk. Keep going for about two minutes as you want the mixture completely amalgamated.
Pour in the lemon juice and add the lemon zest. Stir through.
Add the cream to a clean mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form.
Delicately fold in the whipped cream, making sure you do not overwork the mixture.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 150℃.
Take the lemon mixture from the fridge and lightly whip it with a spatula before pouring it into the baked pastry shell.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Leave to cool and firm up for a while before removing the ring, but do so while the tart is still slightly warm.
Set aside until cold.
Dust the lemon tart with the icing sugar. You may serve the tart dusted or you may brûlée the sugar with a blow torch, which adds a delicate crunch to the tart.
Serve and wait for the applause!