Time: 1 hour + 2 hours resting time for pastry
I used to work at this amazing french bakery, and I remember on my very first shift my boss told me I was allowed to have anything to eat on my break, which included a variety of pies, sandwiches and mouthwatering pastries and tarts. I didn’t know what to do, the choices were endless! Did I want an almond croissant or the pumpkin and feta pie? The pear galette or the roast beef sandwich? After a solid 2 minutes of ‘I CAN’T DECIDE’ syndrome, I laid eyes on the lemon custard tart. There’s something so comforting and homely about lemon desserts that I just can’t resist. I remember my first bite vividly- I was sat on a park bench just outside of the bakery with both my hands cupping the tart as though it were a rare diamond. As I took a bite, I accidentally blew some of the icing sugar that covered the top of the tart all over my pants which to some, looked a tad incriminating, but I didn’t care. It was the best lemon tart I’d ever had. Sweet, but tangy with a perfectly crumbly pastry. From then on, lemon tarts are my go to desserts whether I’m in a restaurant or at home.
(If you were wondering, over the 3 years working at that bakery I managed to try every pie, sandwich, pastry and tart.)
Anyway, nostalgic story aside, let’s get on with it!
Sweet Pastry Ingredients:
- 200g plain flour
- 30g almond meal
- 30g icing sugar
- 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 egg yolks, reserve the whites
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2-3 tbs icy cold water
- Whiz flour, almond meal, icing sugar, salt and butter together in a food processor until mixture resembles bread crumbs
- Add the yolks and 2-3 tbs cold water and pulse until mixture just comes together. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured bench and shape into a ball. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Try not to handle to pastry too much as this will make it tough.
- Once chilled, remove from fridge and roll out to 5-10mm thick on lightly floured surface.
- Liberally grease tart pan with canola spray (one tip I learned while doing work experience in bakeries is to use some form of oil spray rather than butter or flour -its much quicker and you can get into the nooks and crannies of your tart pan.).
- Carefully transfer rolled pastry into tart pan and press to fit. Trim the edges and prick generously with a fork.
- Blind bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC oven for 10 minutes. I used rice to substitute baking beads.
- After 10 minutes, remove rice or baking beads. Lightly whisk the reserved egg whites from earlier and brush the pastry case. This will help prevent any leakages. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool.
- 200g golden or regular caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 150ml thickened cream
- Zest of 3 lemons, finely grated
- 100ml lemon juice
- Reduce oven to 150ºC. Whisk sugar and eggs until foamy. Gradually beat in the cream and add the zest and juice. Pour into tart case and bake for 30-40 minutes until just set. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes before removing from tart pan.
- Decorate with fresh blueberries and strawberries, and dust with icing sugar.