I've tried several recipes and this is my own recipe based on having a 25cm flan tin and needing a recipe that works for that.
Serves about eight with very generous helpings. This recipe needs a 25cm non stick flan tin with removable base.
For sweet pastry shell
- 180g plain flour
- 120g cold unsalted butter chopped into smallish pieces
- 20g icing sugar
- 1 large egg
- 6 large eggs
- 150ml double cream
- 260g caster sugar
- finely grated zest and juice of 5 medium lemons
- Put flour and butter in a food processor and blitz until it resembles sand.
- Add egg and blitz until the starts to come together as a dough. Pop in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for half an hour or longer. You can freeze the dough at this stage for use another day. Chilling the dough makes it a little easier to handle.
- Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured piece of baking parchment with a lightly floured rolling pin.
- Carefully lift the pastry into the tart tin - balancing it on a rolling pin can help. If the pastry breaks, don't worry. You can patch any broken pieces together quite easily.
- Make sure the pastry is gently pushed into the tart tin. The outside of the middle section of your index finger will do this perfectly. It needs to be pushed gently into the fluting of the tin edges. No matter how I try to do this properly this section always expands when baked resulting in thicker pastry than I'd like. It's not a disaster but I'm not quite sure what the fix is.
- Excess pastry hanging over the side of the tin is fine at this stage.
- Pop the tart case in the fridge for at least 30 mins. You can freeze the tart case at this point if you want to get ahead.
- Heat oven to 180˚C (for fan oven).
- Prick tart base with a fork - this prevents the tart case from "puffing up" later. Keep a small amount of dough to one side just in case you need to do emergency patching halfway through the case baking.
- Line tart case with baking parchment and baking beans. (Baking parchment can be made more pliable if you wash it and dry it or scrunch it up and unravel.)
- Place on baking tray and cook for 15 mins.
- Take out of oven.
- Carefully trim excess pastry from the top edge of the tart tin (not easy) and remove the baking beans and baking parchment and pop back in the oven for a further 15 mins.
- Your tart tin should now be fully cooked and needs to be cooled ready for the lemony bit.
- If you've turned the oven off while the tart case cooled, then turn it back on again - 180˚C (for fan oven).
- Whisk the eggs and then add the remaining ingredients and whisk again. You're not trying to whisk it to add air at this point, just to mix it until well combined.
- Once combined, pop into a jug.
- The best way to add the lemony bit to the case is to pour it into the case while the tart tin is sitting on a baking sheet in the oven. This isn't easy. My oven shelf, when half pulled out is not horizontal; it's on a slight slope. Ideally you want your tart case horizontal as you will want to fill it with as much filling as possible. What you want avoid is the filling spilling over the edge of the tart tin so take care. I end up pouring with my right hand and propping up the oven shelf with the other hand.
- Bake for 30-35 mins. The centre should have a wobble when it's taken out of the oven as the tart continues to cook after it's removed from the oven. If you cook it for too long it'll crack as it cools.
- Cool and then pop in the fridge.
- Dust delicately with icing sugar just before serving.