Almost Lazy Lemon Tart
When my daughter was a little bit younger, whenever we had friends over for the dinner, I would usually put her to bed right after the main course, so that we would enjoy dessert and a little digestif afterwards just us, the adults. I will never forget one particular evening we were having guests at our dinner table, when I had made my ‘tarte au citron meringuée’, which is basically a lemon tart with loads of meringue on top. As usual, after having our main course, I got up form the table with my daughter to prepare for bedtime. A little while later in bed, as I was settling her down for sleep, she all of a sudden started crying furiously. I tried to console her and kept asking what had happened, but through the tears and the crying I couldn’t understand what she was saying. And then she stopped for a second, with tears gushing down her cheeks, the corners of her mouth downward and she looked me straight in the eyes and said: “Cake!”. Yes, I immediately got her out of bed and she had a whole slice of the tart, after which I can report she slept like an angel; a content one.
Since making a ‘tarte au citron meringuée’ isn’t very easy, not to mention time-consuming and at times nerve-wracking when the meringue burns in the 5 seconds you weren’t keeping an eye on it, I wanted to make something easier, so that we could enjoy lemony desserts more often, without so much fuss. This is a lazy recipe because the filling is done by basically putting all the ingredients in a blender and whizzing them up. That is if you’re using a store-bought tart shell. I didn’t, I made my own, which takes up a little bit more time and energy, but it’s definitely worth it.
Home-made tart shell or not, if you’re into lemons, you should really make this. It’s not very pretty to look at, as you’ll see in the after oven-time photo, but it’s delicious, tangy and sweet, just like a lemon dessert should be and it’s also hassle-free.
The ace up my sleeve for this dessert was the organic lemon I used, as the recipe only requires one. It really made all the difference: first of all, it’s unwaxed, which is great, as the zest is pure. Secondly, the fragrance and the amount of juice that one of these organic babies packs in are amazing. I don’t buy organic as often as I’d like, but I think with lemons I’ll try more often, it’s a game changer, I swear.
Lazy Lemon Tart
One store-bought tart shell or make your own:
For the tart shell:
250g/1 1/4 cups flour
125g/1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
70g/5 Tbsp superfine sugar
2 egg yolks
50ml/1/4 cups water
A pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 large lemon, cut into 8
300gr/ 1 1/2 cups sugar (any kind will do)
125gr/ 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Start by making the pie shell. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease a 25cm/9in tart shell. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar and egg yolks until creamy and pale, then add water just until the mixture loosens up a bit. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and the butter with the tips of your finger, until it feels sandy; be careful that the mixture doesn’t become too soft. In the middle of this mixture, pour the egg yolk and sugar mixture and incorporate everything with a pastry cutter or with the aid of two knives, if you don’t have a cutter. Once everything is incorporated, on a lightly floured surface, bring the dough together with your hands and form into a ball. Use your hands to spread the dough evenly in the tart pan, making sure that it reaches all the way up on the sides as well. Prick the dough all over with a fork, line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Pop in the oven and blind bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven , discard pie weights and parchment paper and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Once the tart shell has cooled, put all ingredients in your blender and blitz everything well. Pour into tart shell and bake for 40 minutes, until set. Make sure the top doesn’t burn, you might have to cover with tinfoil after the first 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.