Recipe # 18
Ladies, can I get serious for a moment? I just want to tell you one thing: You are not fat.
I know you look in the mirror sometimes and you think you see bulldog jowls, albatross bingo wings, rice pudding cellulite and you lament to yourself “Good grief, I should be living under a bridge and scaring billy goats!” But I want to say to you right now, what you see in the mirror is just an illusion.
You may be curvy or voluptuous, comely or buxom, Rubenesque or packin’ a killer badonkadonk, but what you are most assuredly not is fat. The reality is that you are beautiful, and you should just relax, stop worrying, go ahead and have another slice of cake.
You can trust me; I’m a baker…..
Nevertheless, no matter how beautiful you actually are, I appreciate that you cannot help but worry. Perfection is often blind to its own allure. So for today’s recipe I shall stray away from my customary calorie-laden monsters and focus on something very light and refreshing – my variation of a French classic, tarte au citron….
STAGE 1 – THE PASTRY:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- 9 inch loose base tart tin
- baking paper
- A large bowl
- Rolling pin
- A knife
- Baking beans – or rice
- Pastry brush
- 125 grams of chilled butter, cut into cubes
- 250 grams of plain flour
- 70 grams of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 2 eggs yolks – separated using the plastic bottle method
- A splash of chilled milk
- 1 egg for egg wash
Classics are classics for a reason. That reason is that wiser and more gifted persons than I have used their talents to craft a recipe to the zenith of perfection. The last thing these recipes need is a great stomping behemoth like me crashing into them and ruining their appeal with my crass showboating. Sadly, it is in my nature to tinker with things because I just can’t leave well enough alone. However, out of respect for the classic, the tweaks I have made are very minor ones. Other than that, the recipe that follows sticks very closely to the French original.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.
Grease a tin with butter or vegetable oil and line the base with a circle of baking paper:
Place the dry ingredients into a bowl: the flour, icing sugar, spices and salt:
Using your fingers, rub the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs:
Mix in the egg yolks with a fork:
Add a small splash of milk and start bringing the dough together with your hands into a firm ball. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for about an hour:
Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two sheets of clingfilm to a size of about 5 millimetres thick and 11 inches in diameter:
Peel away the top layer of clingfilm:
Slide your hand under the bottom layer of clingfilm. Lift up the pastry and flip it over onto the prepared tart tin. Keep the cling film attached as you smooth the pastry into the corners of the tin:
Trim away the edges of the pastry and pierce the base with a fork:
Line the pastry again with fresh clingfilm and fill the hollow with either ceramic baking beans or rice, then blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes. This process will prevent your pastry from getting a soggy bottom:
Remove the tin from the oven. Lift the rice and clingfilm from the pastry shell, taking care not to spill any of the rice. Brush the pastry with some egg wash and place the tin back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry shell is a light golden brown. Leave the pastry aside to cool:
STAGE 2 – THE FILLING:
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Lemon zester
- Lemon juicer
- A large bowl
- A whisk
- A cooling rack
- 5 eggs
- 3 lemons
- 170 grams caster sugar
- 150 millilitres double cream
Preheat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F/Gas Mark 3.
Zest then juice three lemons:
Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk in the sugar, lemon zest and juice:
Whisk in the cream:
Pour the filling mixture into the pre-baked pastry shell. Place the the tart tin onto a baking tray. This will help with handling the tin and prevent spilling the filling as you place the tart into the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes:
The filling should still have a very slight jelly wobble in the centre when you take it out of the oven. Leave the tart in the tin until cool enough to handle:
Remove the ring component of the tart tin, but keep the base attached. Place the tart on a cooling rack:
When the tart has cooled, slide the pastry onto a plate or onto a cake board. Then slice and enjoy your classy French tart: