Lemon curd is so versatile and easy to make if you have lemons to get rid of. It keeps in the fridge for weeks and you can freeze it. This recipe has everything made from scratch – hence the lengthy preparation time and complexity. But there’s nothing stopping anyone getting some store bought lemon curd and frozen shortcrust pastry to whip up this lovely little dessert in no time and with little effort. That said, nothing beats home made curd and pastry.
Lemon curd tart
Makes: 6 mini tarts
This shortcrust pastry recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners book. This recipe makes a very short crust and the end product is a delicate, light and buttery crust.
This recipe makes double what you need (it makes enough for a 28 cm diameter tart). The remainder of the uncooked pastry can be frozen for another day.
- 125 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 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 milk
- 100 g white chocolate, melted (optional – see note)
- 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.
- Split into two halves and gently roll into logs. Wrap both logs in cling film, freeze one for another time (allow to thaw in fridge for several hours before using) and refrigerate the other for at least an hour (or until needed).
- Roll out to fit into six 9 cm diameter fluted loose-bottomed tart tins. Prick pastry base with a fork a few times and refrigerate again for 60 minutes at least.
When ready to bake:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
- Remove tart cases 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 cases and bake for a further five to ten minutes until the crust is crisp and starting to turn golden.
- Remove from oven to cool before removing from tart tins.
- When the pastry cases are cooled, thinly spread about 1 tablespoon of melted white chocolate on the base and up the sides of each case. Allow chocolate to set and harden.
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 90 ml juice and 1½ to 2 tablespoons zest, depending on size) – strained
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 165 g caster sugar
- 80 g unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- Whisk egg, egg yolk and sugar in a bowl until pale (don’t let the egg sit on the sugar too long or it will harden).
- Transfer to a saucepan with the heat on medium-low.
- Add butter, juice and zest and allow to heat up while continue stirring until it’s cooked and thickened. It’s important to heat the mixture slowly and constantly stir to prevent the eggs scrambling. The curd is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you can clear a trail through the mixture on the back of the spoon if you run your finger through it.
- Sieve into a clean bowl (because there will be traces of cooked egg white in there no matter how fastidious you were when you mixed it).
- Allow to cool until ready to use.
- Spoon curd into tart cases to about 1.5 cm depth and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve individual tarts with cream or ice cream.
- I like to ‘line’ the inside of the pastry cases with melted white chocolate before adding the curd. I find this cuts the tartness of the curd and also protects the pastry from becoming too soft when refrigerated (as I like to make these a day ahead). Only use a thin layer of chocolate, or else the pastry will be too hard to break through with a spoon when eating. If these are being served immediately, or if you don’t mind softer pastry, you can omit the chocolate coating.
- Once cooked, the lemon curd will keep in a sterilized jar in the fridge for several weeks (sterilize a clean glass jar by pouring in boiling water and letting it sit for ten minutes, or sterilize jar and a metal lid in oven at 180°C for ten minutes).
- I have also kept lemon curd well by freezing it in plastic containers.