10.2.11

lemon curd tart

This is one of my al time favourite desserts. I love lemon in all it's forms, but there is something special about it's tanginess when combined with lots of sugar, whether in a nice gelati or a custard, that makes for a super refreshing and satisfying treat.

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You can cut the preparation in half if you can buy ready-made sweet pastry shell from a supermarket or a bakery (I usually buy mine from Waitrose and they are really excellent) but preparing the actual pastry case is not that hard either.

Ingredients:

FOR LEMON CUSTARD
4 lemons
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
1/4 pound (115g) unsalted butter
4 extra-large eggs
1/8 teaspoon of salt

FOR PASTRY CASE
12 tablespoons (175 g) unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup (230 g) plain flour
a pinch of salt


Preparation:

PASTRY
Mix the butter (at room temperature) and sugar together in a food processor, until just combined. add vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift the flour and salt together, then add butter and sugar mixture and mix with dough hooks on low speed until just combined (do not overmix). Pour onto floured flat surface and gently roll out until its' about 1/2 cm in thickness.
Place the dough inside a false-bottom tart pan, making sure all is nicely pressed and finished edge is flat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Butter one side of a sheet of aluminium foil, then place over the chilled pastry and fill with dry rice. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove foil and rice, prick all over with a fork and bake for another 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
Allow to cool to room temperature before removing the pastry shell.

LEMON CUSTARD
Remove the zest of 4 lemons (with a zester or fine grater) making sure you avoid the white stuff underneath. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.
Place the zest in the food processor with a steel blade, together with the sugar, and blitz until you get a well combined, fragrant lemon sugar.
In a bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter (room temperature) with the lemon sugar. Add eggs one by one, and then add lemon juice and salt.
This will make lemon curd which will separate and float on top of clear liquid. Do not panic, this is normal.
Pour the mix into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until well emulsified and thickened (about 10 minutes).
Lemon curd will become a thick and luxurious custard at or just below 175 C, so there is no need to boil or overcook it.
Por the lemon custard into a pastry case and allow it to cool and set at room temperature.

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Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.
Bon appétit!

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