Sunday 19 August 2012

Gordon Ramsay’s lemon tart

One of the great things about Belgium is the amazing range of goodies available at your local patisserie. One of my favourites is/was Le Tarisan near St Boniface. It closed about a year ago but there is another branch in Schuman, but I haven’t been (yet). The one at St Boniface was run by a couple of burly, tattooed, pierced, shaven-headed guys who made the most delicate and scrumptious tarts ever, especially the tarte au citron, whose zingy lemon sharpness was perfectly balanced against the sweetness.
Anyway, my take on the lemon tart was not quite as good, but still rather delish. I’ve never done a GR recipe before as I’ve always assumed that they would be very complicated. Nope. Not a chance – this was very simple: mix the eggs and sugar, add the cream and mix, add the lemon and mix.

Lemon tart, untrimmed, puff pastry and where the pastry rose mid bake. Still yum.

My biggest ‘mistake’ was my choice of pastry. I used pâte feuilletée or flakey pastry from Delhaize. I should have used pâte sablée, which is a rich, short crust pastry – think crumbly, like shortbread. I baked it blind but the pastry still puffed up during the final baking. Anyway, it was still delicious, with a good balance of sweetness to tartiness. I will make it again. I had a little of the filling left over, so I baked this in a ramekin for about 20 minutes.

You will need:
5 unwaxed lemons
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
200ml double cream
icing sugar , for dusting and decorating
375g block dessert pastry, or if you live in Belgium, one roll of dessert pastry (pâte sablée)

Finely grate the zest of 3 of the lemons into a bowl. Add to this the juice of all 5 lemons
Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, then whisk in the caster sugar until completely combined. Whisk in the cream, then set aside.

Five squeezed lemons and six cracked eggs

Line a tart dish with the pastry with the greaseproof paper its wrapped in. I only had a 28cm dish, but the recipe said to use a 23cm one. Let the excess pastry hang over the edge. Push the pastry well into the edges of the dish. Put in fridge or freezer for 20 mins to allow pastry to chill.
While the pastry is chilling, heat oven to 200°. Prick the base of the pastry case, line with greaseproof paper and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the paper and beans, then bake the case for 5-10 mins more until it is brown and crisp. Lower your oven to 150°.
Strain your lemon juice mixture and then stir the juice through your eggy-creamy mixture. GR says that you should skim the bubbles from the surface of the custard, then pour the custard into a jug. I didn’t, and the bubbles baked into the tart, leaving a lovely bubbly pattern. Pull the tart out of the oven slightly, then pour in the custard so it comes to the top of the pastry. You may have some mixture left over (as I said, I baked this on its own in a ramekin for 20 minutes as a sort of creme brulee type dish and ate it with Hubs before the in-laws arrived. Chefs pleasure). Push the tart back into the oven and bake for 35-40 mins until the top forms a light crust and the custard is just set. Leave to cool, then chill.

This recipe is from the BBC Good Food website.


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