I have been making lemon tarts ever since I can remember and have become very fussy about the virtues of a good one! This is a shallow but super-lemony version topped with lusciously sweet strawberries.
80 grams cold butter, chopped 3cm cubes
⅓ cup icing sugar
1 ¼ cups plain flour
finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1 egg yolk (reserve egg white)
2 tablespoons cold cream
1 egg yolk (reserve one egg white)
¾ cup caster sugar
200ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
400 grams fresh strawberries, as evenly sized and ripe as possible
¼ cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
26cm removable base tart tin
Pastry: Place the butter, icing sugar, flour and lemon zest in a food processor and blend until it forms ‘breadcrumbs’. Add the egg yolk and cream and pulse until it starts to come together in clumps. Bring it together with your hands and pat into a flat disc. Flour the top and bottom lightly, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Remove the pastry from the fridge, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. Remove top piece of paper and invert pastry into the tart tin. Trim the edges and press the pastry into the tin, patching up any tears with excess pastry. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Remove the chilled pastry base from the freezer and gently prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Cut a circle of baking paper large enough to cover the base and up the sides of the tart tin. Place the paper over the pastry base and fill with baking beans or rice, ensuring they come at least some way up the sides of the pastry. This means that when you pre-cook the base (known as ‘baking blind’) it won’t shrink and will provide firm sides to the tart.
Bake the base for 12 minutes then remove the baking paper and weights. Whisk the reserved egg white and brush over the base. Bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until golden.
Filling: Whisk eggs, yolk and sugar together in a large jug. Add cream and lemon juice and stir to combine. To prevent spillage, slide out the oven rack with the tart base still on it, pour the filling in and gently slide back. Reduce the oven temperature to 170˚C and bake for 30 minutes or until just set but with a slight wobble in the centre.
Strawberries: Hull and halve the strawberries. Combine gently with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Leave to sit for half an hour before assembling the tart.
To assemble: Remove the tart from its tin. Distribute the strawberries evenly over the top and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be assembled up to 2 hours before serving.
Menu: Serve with Turkish Bread Crostini with Whipped Feta and Broad Beans to start, and Spice-Crusted Lamb Rack with Spinach and Baby Beet Salad as a main.