I absolutely love this lemon tart! It is silky smooth, creamy, yet light and soooo tangy but not too sweet. Apart from the pastry, it is dead-easy to make (you could just as easily use store-bought for a show-stopping dessert). This recipe was given to me years ago by Bernie, a social media friend, when I was wondering what to make using the bags of lemons given to me by another social media friend. The recipe was a photocopy from a book, so I’m not sure where the original recipe came from.
Lemons are in season at the moment in Australia. There are so many things you can do with lemons, like making limoncello, but with winter coming, a comforting lemon tart is a winner for me any day. The recipe basically involves making a light custard with whole eggs, lemon and cream and then baking it very slowly. You need to blind bake the pastry case first, otherwise it will end up a soggy mess. I’d recommend lining the base of the flan tin, as the pasty can end up sticking to the base with the long slow cooking time.
Bernie’s baked lemon tart
First make and blind bake a flan case.
This shortcrust pastry recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners book and it is my standard go-to for sweet shortcrust pie or tart cases.
- 125 g unsalted butter at room temp
- 100 g icing sugar
- 255 g pastry flour (plain flour is fine)
- pinch of salt
- zest of ½ lemon
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons (Tb) iced water or cold milk
- Using a food processor, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add flour and salt, egg yolks and lemon zest and continue to blend.
- When the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add water (or milk), one tablespoon at a time.
- Remove from food processor and form it into a ball on cling film or baking paper. It will be very soft. Try not to add more flour or it will become hard and flaky.
- Gently roll into a log, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Line the base of a 23 cm loose-bottomed flan case with baking paper. Roll out pastry to fit and trim edges. Refrigerate again for 60 minutes at least.
When ready to bake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
- Remove tart case from fridge and cover with baking paper and weights (I use dry rice) to ‘blind bake’.
- Bake for ten minutes, then remove baking paper from tart case and bake for a further five to ten minutes until the crust is crisp and starting to turn golden.
Remove from oven to cool and do NOT remove from flan tin!
- 150 ml single (35% fat) cream
- 4 eggs
- 190 g caster sugar (225 g if you want to make it sweeter)
- 125 ml fresh lemon juice
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- Set oven to 120°C (100°C fan forced) – that’s not a typo.
- Heat cream on stove top until steaming (but not boiling).
- Whisk eggs and sugar together lightly.
- Slowly whisk through the hot cream then whisk through the lemon juice.
- Sieve into a large bowl (this will remove any cooked egg white bits), let it rest for ten minutes before gently stirring through the lemon rind.
- Carefully pour into pre-baked flan case, and bake for about an hour until just set.
- Remove from oven to cool completely in its tin. It will continue to firm up as it cools.
- Before serving, dust with icing sugar or sprinkle with caster sugar and caramelise with a kitchen blow torch.
- Because this tart is quite lemony tart and not overly sweet, serve with mascarpone cheese, cream or ice cream.