To enjoy a lemon tart at its best, serve it warm or cold, but never chilled. For this recipe I have used sweet pastry which is easy to prepare. Serve the tart as it is, or sprinkled with a generous layer of confectioners' sugar. It is delicious accompanied by candied kumquats or red berries in season.
Note: To make the candied kumquats - take very ripe kumquats (about 20), put them in a small pan, cover with cold water, and boil 1 minute, then refresh in cold water. Repeat this twice more; drain. Return to the pan with 2 cups water and 2 cups of sugar and slowly bring to a boil. Lower the heat and poach the kumquats for 35-40 minutes, until lightly candied.
For the pastry:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup (16 Tbsp.) butter, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 2 ego yolks
- pinch of salt
For the lemon filling:
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- finely grated zest and fresh juice of 2 lemons
- butter, to grease tart pan
To make the pastry: Heap the flour in a mound and make a well. Put in the butter, sugar, salt. With your fingertips, mix the butter with sugar and salt, then add the egg yolks and work them in delicately with your fingertips. Little by little, crow the flower into the center and work the mixture until you have a dough. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 3-4 times until it is completely smooth. Roll it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Note: If well wrapped, this delicate, sweet pie dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To make the lemon filling: Lightly whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk the cream for a few seconds, then mix it into the eggs. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Butter an 8-9 inch tart pan. Roll out the dough, drape it over the rolling pin. Line the tart pan with the dough. Trim off the excess dough around the rim, and gently press the dough edges up the side of the pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Bake the dough for 15 minutes, covered with waxed paper and pie weights. Then remove the paper and ceramic beans and bake for another 5 minutes, until lightly colored. Take out and lower temperature to 300F.
Lightly whisk the chilled lemon filling, then pour it into the tart shell up to the level of the lip. Bake for about 1 hour, until lightly set. Leave for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the tart from the pan. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.