French Lemon Tart

INGREDIENTS

200g caster sugar
3 lemons, finely grated zest only (about 2 tablespoons)
4 large eggs
180 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 or 5 lemons)
295 g plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 2cm (1 inch) pieces
1 fully baked 23cm (9 inch) tart shell
1 handful fresh blueberries, for garnish (optional)

METHOD

Lemon Curd / Filling

Set a saucepan on the heat with about 2 inches of water in it, and bring up to the boil. Meanwhile, put the caster sugar in a heatproof bowl that you’ll set above the boiling water shortly. Add the lemon zest and rub it all in so that all the sugar picks up the natural lemon zest oil. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice, and then set the bowl over the water and keep whisking. If you have a thermometer, use it to check when the heat of the curd gets to about 80 degrees c. Without a thermometer, just wait until all the bubbles have gone and a spatula or wooden spoon leaves tracks when you drag it across. Then you can remove it from the heat – keep whisking for a little while as it cools. Once it’s at room temp (ish) put it in a magimix or simply use a whisk (and your biceps!!) and drop in the cubes of butter one at a time until blended. Once it’s all blended in, continue to whisk / blend for another three minutes or so before putting in the fridge until you need it. You should taste it, but try not to eat it by the spoonful!!

Tart Shell

220g plain flour, sifted, plus more to dust
40g icing sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
120g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Half an organic or unwaxed orange (finely grated zest only)
1 egg yolk
4 tbsp cold water

Start with the pastry. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and use your hands to rub in the butter until you have a texture resembling crumbs. You can also do this in a food mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mixing on a slow speed.

Add the zest and egg yolk, then slowly add the water one tablespoon at a time, mixing constantly, until you have a smooth dough. You might not need all the water, so add it in stages. Be careful not to work the dough too much, as it can make the pastry chewy and elastic instead of crumbly and short.

Mould the dough into a ball, cover with cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the pastry out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the filling. Roll out the pastry, and drape it over the prepared tart tin, use a fork to prick some holes in the bottom of the tart, and if you have baking beans or rice, put some baking paper into the tart case and then fill with the beans / rice. Cook for 15 minutes, and then remove the paper and beans and cook for for another 5 – 10 minutes until golden.

Allow the tart shell to cool completely and fill with the lemon curd. Decorate with blueberries and raspberry powder if you have some!

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