Lots and lots of lemons…

Recently my neighbour very kindly off-loaded his excess lemons onto my kitchen bench and I have to say, I was pretty damn excited. I mean, what doesn’t lemon go well with? Homemade lemonade, fish and chips, sorbet, lemon curd, gin and tonic, grilled haloumi and… tarts!

As I’ve previously stated, I love a good tart and the only thing better than eating one is making one. Lemon tarts are nothing new but they are a handy addition to any cook’s repertoire. The thing I like most about them is they aren’t too sweet or heavy and have a lovely tang that finishes off a meal perfectly.

If you’re not a fan of lemon juice, you could easily replace it with strained passionfruit juice. In fact add some coconut to the pastry and serve with a tropical fruit salad and you’re onto the perfect dessert for a summer dinner party.

For now though, I’m sticking with the lemons. After finishing the tarts, I’m still left with twelve of them and this sunshine is making me think perhaps a lemon and lime sorbet with a hint of tequila is in order?!

Lemon Tarts (makes 12)

Pastry

  • 320gms plain flour
  • 150gms caster sugar
  • 200gms chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp chilled water

Filling

  • 180mls lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 180gms caster sugar
  • 130mls cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. To make the pastry, combine the butter, flour and sugar in a bowl. Using your finger-tips rub the butter and dry ingredients together until they resembles fine bread crumbs. Alternatively you can use a food process.
  3. Add the water and combine until the mixture comes together to form a pliable dough If the dough is too dry, add a little more water.
  4. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth. Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll the pastry out until it is about 4mm thick. Cut it to fit 12x10cm tart tins. Line the tins, pressing the dough into the corners and cutting off any excess pastry. Prick the bases with a fork and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. If you’re making this on a warmer day, divide your dough into three pieces and return any you’re not immediately using to the fridge to keep firm.
  6. Line the tins with foil and use pie weights or uncooked rice to blind bake the tarts. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool.
  7. To make the filling, turn the oven down to 160 degrees. Combine the lemon juice and caster sugar and whisk gently to minimise the froth. Add the eggs and cream and whisk gently until combined.
  8. Pour into the tart tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until just set. Don’t worry if they seem a bit soft when they first come out, they will firm up once cooled.
  9. Refrigerate for about an hour before dusting with caster sugar and serving with whipped cream.

These tarts are best eaten on the day they are made however can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Anything after that and the pastry ends up a bit soft (but they’re still yum!).

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