The flavor palette of this classic lemon tart, with its creamy custard filling encased in a perfect sweet shortcrust pastry shell, is soft and light. Just looking at it in all its delicately decorated beauty will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. The lemony tartness of it is like a gentle spring breeze; not a dramatic summer thunderstorm.
1 Sweet Shortcrust Pastry Shell (blind-baked)
(See separate recipe here)
1 cup caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon zest (1–2 lemons)
4 lemons, juiced
¾ cup heavy cream
Strawberries, Raspberries or Blueberries:
1½ – 2 cups fresh berries (if using strawberries, wash, hull, and cut into halves or quarters depending on size)
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Limoncello (optional)
Meringue Kisses, optional (see separate recipe here)
Fresh mint or basil leaves (optional)
Or simply dust with confectioners’ sugar immediately before serving.
1. Prepare pastry dough and blind bake your pastry shell as instructed in the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry recipe, reserving any leftover pastry dough for another use. Let the blind-baked pastry shell cool completely, trim off any excess crust around the edges of the pan, and leave the shell in its pan while you prepare the filling.
2. Turn the oven down to 275°F.
3. To make the lemon custard filling, crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat them together using a fork or whisk, trying not to incorporate too much air while doing it.
4. Add the sugar, ¼ cup of lemon zest, lemon juice of four lemons, and heavy cream. Mix together thoroughly on low speed of a stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. Set mixture aside for 10 minutes to rest and let any air bubbles come to the surface. If, after this time, any froth appears on the surface, spoon it off and discard.
5. Pass the custard filling through a sieve or fine strainer, straining into a large jug, or something that can then be poured from easily.
6. Place the cooked tart shell, still in its pan, on a baking sheet, and place it on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Pull the rack out a bit and carefully pour the lemon custard into the pastry shell, filling as close to the top as you can without it overflowing the top of the shell. If any bubbles rise to the surface, they can be easily popped by running the flame of a blow torch over the surface, but this isn’t a necessity. Very gently ease the rack back into the oven, close the oven door, and bake for 35 minutes.
7. When ready, the tart should have a slight wobble towards the center. If, when gently shaken, you see it is still rippling towards the outer part of the tart, bake it for an additional 10 minutes and then re-check. Be very careful not to let it go too long, though, because the tart can quickly go from being seemingly under-cooked to being set and solid. Once you are happy with the consistency, remove the tart from the oven and, leaving the tart in its pan, set it out to cool completely. The filling will continue to set further as it cools.
8. Place the berries (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries) in a bowl, and add the sugar and Limoncello (optional). Toss to coat and leave the fruit to macerate until ready to serve.
9. When ready to serve, add a few fresh and torn basil or mint leaves to the berries and serve alongside or over the top of a slice of the lemon tart, adding some Meringue Kisses for texture if desired.
Recipe calls for optional Meringue Kisses and macerated berries of your choice
8″ or 9″ round 1¼ inch deep tart pan with a removable bottom
Sieve or fine strainer
Jug to pour custard filling into tart shell
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
Keywords: lemon tart