Essentially this recipe is what happens when I unpack my shopping bags and realise that I seem to have purchased 4 more lemons in addition to the 6 already in my fridge.
Once upon a time my mother would compulsively buy shampoo every time she went to the shops because she was convinced we were running out, even though our bathroom cabinet was already occupied by another half dozen “I am sure we must be running out” shampoo bottles. The end result was that the dog smelled like Herbal Essences for a good five years. To prove that we all eventually turn into our parents, I seem to have transferred that particular habit to lemons. I would love to say that I purchase lemons because I have them in a nice G&T, but actually I prefer limes, so I am not entirely sure why I suffer from a subconscious fear of running out of lemons.
Should you be afflicted by a similar citrus buying compulsion this is definitely the recipe for you! I have seen recipes that only use half this amount of lemon juice, but as far as I am concerned lemon tart should actually taste like lemons. You should definitely use actual lemons for this rather than concentrate, not least because the lemon zest gives it a lovely colour and an even more intense citrusy flavour. It ends up making for a nice refreshing dessert and frankly provides a much needed taste of summer even though London is currently coated in grey slush.
1 packet short-crust pastry
2-3 tbsps icing sugar
1 tsp flour
9 free-range eggs
300ml double cream or whipping cream (although I went for 284ml because that is what Tesco sells and it didn’t do my tart any harm)
6-7 large lemons (you will need the zest and juice)
1. Dust a clean work surface with icing sugar and roll out the pastry so it is large enough to cover an 11 inch loose bottomed tart tin. You want a tart or quiche tin, i.e. something with scalloped edges, although the key part is that the bottom and the sides must be separate parts or you will never be able to get your tart out of the tin.
2. Oil and flour the tin then line it with the pastry. Make sure the pastry goes slightly over the edge of the tin or it will shrink too much while you are baking it. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan assisted), remove your pastry lined tin from the fridge and bake for 20-25 mins or until it starts to turn a slightly golden colour. While your tart is baking zest your lemons and squeeze out all the juice into a measuring cup, you want roughly the same amount as the cream you are using, so about 275ml.
4. Remove the tin from the oven and carefully trim off any excess pastry with a knife. Set aside to cool.
5. In a large bowl mix together eggs, cream, sugar, lemon juice and zest until well combined. Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case. I filled it about halfway up, moved it into the oven and then poured in the rest of the filling.
6. Bake at 180C for 40-45 mins, until set but still slightly wobbly. Turn off the heat and leave it in the oven to slowly cool, if you take it out straight away there is a chance that it will cool too quickly and the filling will crack.
7. The lemon tart will be lovely warm or chilled, dust with a bit of icing sugar before serving.