Monday, 22 October 2012

Tarte au Citron

My favourite tart (or one of my favourite tarts) is tart au citron. I know a few people love lemons, eat them on their own or drink their juice, but can't stand lemons in their desserts. They hate it. I am not one of those people. I love love loveee lemon in savoury and sweet dishes.

 Around a year ago, one of our very loved family friends suggested starting up a cooking club. Every month or so all the members meet at one of the members house, and learn a dish. Or two. We've even learnt three in one sitting! Its like your own live cooking show where you watch someone cook a dish and instead of asking the TV questions, you're asking the person right in front of you. And you get to all sit down and EAT the food, not just lust over it through a screen.

The first meeting was held at Ginnan's house, and we learnt to make this super easy tart shell which I now use in any tart recipe I make, and 3 different fillings, but obviously this one was my favourite.

 This tart shell is my best friend. It hasn't failed me yet. It barely shrinks, and you don't use any baking beans to stop it puffing up! You just make it, roll it, put it, trim it, cook it and you're done! I'm not much of a tidy tart maker (as you can tell by looking above), I'll have to work on that, but I think it just adds to that rustic feel, don't you?

Tarte au Citron

Recipe taken from a long time family friend, Ginnan
(makes an 8 inch tart)

For the tart shell:
113 grams bread flour
112 grams plain flour
170 grams cold unsalted butter, cubed
85 grams caster sugar
85 grams ground almonds
1 egg

For the filling:
60 grams lemon juice (the juice of about 1 lemon)
200 grams unsalted butter
250 grams icing sugar
rind of 1 lemon
1 whole egg
5 egg yolks

Tart shell:

Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, a pastry cutter, or even your fingers, mix together the flours, sugar, ground almonds and butter until crumbly and resembles coarse breadcrumbs (I'm sure any would work, I use the first option and used my fingers at the end to make sure everything was crumbly enough).

Mix in the egg until it forms a smooth dough, avoid over mixing the eggs. (Now I did this part using my dough hook. I'm not sure how you would do it another way, maybe a food processor and pulse it? Maybe just knead it in? I don't know but I'm sure there's another way. And as soon as I find out I'll get back to you)

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for around an hour or two before using. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured tabletop - I floured some cling film and saved me some cleaning time - until big enough to cover a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Then, turn out the dough into the pan, sealing any cracks and making it look a lot prettier than mine. Pierce crust all over with a fork (I forgot to do this and my tart kinda puffed up a bit. But it was ok).

Cook in a preheated oven on 190°C (375°F) for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for a few minutes before taking it out of a pan and cooling it on a wire rack until completely cool.


In a large bowl big enough to fit in the microwave (and is microwave safe!) mix together the cubed butter, sugar, lemon juice and rind. Heat in a microwave for 30 second intervals, taking it out and mixing it together, until the butter has melted and everything is mixed together.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the egg and egg yolks until combined, and add into the butter mixture. Cook in the microwave (on medium heat), for 1 minute intervals, taking it out between intervals to stir the mixture, until thick but still runny enough to pour into the pastry shell. This took me 3 minutes, but might take you longer. 

Pour filling into the prepared tart shell and put in the fridge for a couple of hours, until set. 

Serve cold or at room temperature, sprinkled with icing sugar.

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