The lemon tree in our garden is full of fruit right now and it is a challenge to make good use of the crop. We use a lot of lemon juice in our everyday cooking,we preserve lemons- stay tuned for some really good recipes-, we freeze lemon juice ice cubes that keep for several months, and we bake. We are always trying out new recipes and after exhaustive research our preferences are a lemon cake and this rather rich Heston Blumenthal lemon tart for special occasions. Our advice? If you do not have a forthcoming special occasion, improvise one and bake this tart!
For the pastry
- 300g Plain flour
- 150g Unsalted butter
- 120g Icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 3 Large egg yolks
- Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 egg for the egg wash
For the filling
- Finely grated zest and juice of 5 lemons
- 390g White caster sugar
- 300g Double cream
- 9 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk
To finish and serve
- 80g Unrefined caster sugar
- Creme fraiche
For the pastry, blitz together the egg yolks and icing sugar in a tall container with a stick blender.
Combine flour, butter and salt in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs (approximately 2-3 minutes).
Add the lemon zest and vanilla seeds, then add the egg yolk mixture and combine on low speed until fully combined and a very soft dough has formed (approximately 3-5 minutes).
Turn the dough out onto a plastic wrap and shape into a flat disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Place the pastry between two sheets of baking parchment, roll out to a thickness of 2mm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Butter a 24cm tart tin (2cm deep), line with the pastry and gently push it into the base and edges, allowing the excess to hang by 1cm over the sides. Reserve a little dough for the egg wash.
Prick all over the base of the tart with a fork and and freeze for 10 minutes. (If the tart tin doesn’t fit in your freezer, refrigerate for 30 minutes).
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
In the meantime, mix some of the leftover dough with the egg using a blender.
Cut a large circle of baking parchment and scrunch it up a couple of times. Lay it over the pastry base, fill with beans or coins and bake for approximately 20 minutes before removing the beans or coins and parchment.
Brush the entire surface of the pastry case with the dough and egg mixture, using a pastry brush. This will ensure that any holes will be sealed.
Return the pastry case to the oven and bake for a further 5-7 minutes.
Remove the tart tin from the oven, let cool a little and then, using a sharp knife, cut the excess pastry from around the top of the tart tin.
Leave to cool completely.
When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 120°C, and place the baked pastry case in the oven to warm up.
Place all the filling ingredients into a heatproof bowl and mix together using a spatula. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to warm up until the temperature reaches 62°C.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. With a metal spoon, remove the bubbles from the surface of the liquid.
Slide the oven rack out a bit, pour the mixture into the warm pastry case inside the oven.
Fill the case to the top, slide the rack carefully back in, and bake the tart for approximately 25 minutes until the temperature of the filling reaches 70°C.
Allow to cool completely at room temperature.
When ready to serve, sprinkle over the caster sugar and caramelise with a blow torch.