Lemons! Words and pictures that come to mind are sunny, refreshing, clean, tart, summertime lemonade stands. . .
Lovely and versatile, we use lemon zest, lemon juice, even the leaves. A squirt of lemon juice brightens sauces, accents fish, oysters, and soups. Lemon oil is a smell good/feel good element in aromatherapy. It’s even used in cleaning products leaving that fresh, clean scent. The list goes on and I’m sure you have your own special uses.
At the moment I have two huge containers of preserved lemons in my pantry and at the other end of the lemon spectrum a container of Meyer lemon relish and a stash of lemon tea. Not to mention all of the lemons in the fresh fruit bowl. From James Bond who drinks his martini dry with a slice of lemon peel (shaken and not stirred) to Oz “where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops”, it’s lemons that brighten our day.
Here’s a confession: I love chocolate, but I’ll take lemon instead of chocolate any day. So when Oli decided to make this lemon tart for company, it was I who felt special. Lemon tart. It’s not tart. It’s just sweet enough, with the right punch of lemon. It’s nestled in a crust that’s never soggy and always delightfully crunchy. This lemon tart is topped with . . . wait for it . . . candied lemon peel.
Ahhhh… As I write, I am savoring a good cup of coffee. What’s missing is the lemon tart.
Pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter cut in small cubes
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs at room temperature
Dry beans or rice for weighing down the dough
1. Grease a 8 x 2-inch round tart pan with removable bottom.
2. Combine flour, butter and salt in bowl of food processor. Process until well blended.
3. Add eggs and process further untill you have a firm, stiff dough.
4. Turn out dough to a well floured work surface and knead until you form a large dough ball.
5. Put dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
(Dough can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw before using.)
Preheat oven to 350 F
6. On a well floured work surface, roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness.
7. Roll dough onto the rolling-pin then unroll it onto the tart pan. This is an easy way to transfer the dough so that it does not break apart when you move it.
8. Trim dough to fit bottom and sides of pan, then line dough (bottom and sides) with aluminum foil. Make sure the foil securely hugs the sides.
9. Now you are going to “blind bake” the crust. Blind baking keeps the crust from getting soggy when you add the filling. Fill the lined pan with dried beans or rice. The weight keeps the crust from bubbling up when baking.
10. Bake 20 minutes
11. Remove from oven and take out weights and foil.
4 lemons, washed, zested and juiced
9 whole eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar for dusting
1. Combine lemon zest, juice, eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Wisk together until mixed.
2. In a large bowl combine cream and corn starch, stirring until there are no clumps.
3. Add cream to lemon mixture and use a wisk to blend everything together.
4. Fill pre-baked crust to the top with lemon filling. Very carefully transfer to pre heated oven.
5. Bake 1 hour.
6. Remove tart from oven and let stand at least 3 hours before removing it from the tart pan. In the meantime, make the candied lemon peel.
Candied Lemon Peel
2 lemons, washed
4 cups water
2 tablespoons sugar
1. Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to remove rind from lemons. Be sure to cut away all of the white pith from the slices.
2. Slice peel into very thin strips.
3. Place peel, and 2 cups of water in a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and drain.
4. Using the same pot, combine peel, remaining 2 cups water and sugar.
5. Return to boil and cook until water has evaporated.
6. Place peel on dish and allow to cool to room temperature.
Dust tart with confectioners and garnish with candied lemon peel.