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Classic Lemon Tart

How to cook: Classic Lemon Tart

Lemon tart – wobbly, sharp, creamy, but acidic – is on outrageously delicious dish. In France, a tarte au citron is often a slim, very elegant offering, not heavily filled. The ideal is to make it a few hours before you intend to eat it, then serve it warm or cool. Some ice-cold scoops of thick, sharp creme fraiche are the perfect accompaniment. Serve with a small glass of citrus liqueur, dark rum or brandy.


6 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted

175 g butter, at room temperature

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons iced water

250 g plain flour, sifted


4 large eggs

150 g caster sugar

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest from 2-3 lemons

100 ml creme fraiche or double cream, plus extra to serve

a loose-bottomed round tart tin, 20 cm diameter and 3 cm deep, set on a baking sheet

greaseproof paper and baking beans



To make the dough, set aside 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar and put the remainder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter and beat until creamy, soft and white. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue beating until well mixed. Trickle in half the iced water, then add the flour. Beat on a lower speed, adding the remaining water until the dough gathers into a soft ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 40-60 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll out to 5 mm thick. Use it to line the tart tin. Gently push the dough into the corners. Cut off the excess dough. Chill for a further 20 minutes or until very firm.

Prick the dough all over with a fork, line with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans, and bake blind in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans. Let the pastry rest for 5 minutes, then bake again for 10 minutes or until pale golden.

To make the filling, put the eggs, sugar and half the lemon zest in a bowl and beat well for 2 minutes with a electric whisk. Stir in the lemon juice and creme fraiche, then pour the mixture into the pastry case. Bake at 120°C (250°F) Gas 1/2 for 35 minutes, or until the filling is barely set.

While the tart cooks, put the remaining lemon zest in a sieve, pour over boiling water, then refresh under cold running water. Put the zest, the reserved 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 4 tablespoons water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook gently until the zest looks syrupy. Sprinkle the zest over the cooked tart.

Serve hot or warm, with additional spoonfuls of creme fraiche.

makes 4 servings

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