Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Straight up Lemon Tarts

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If I am really honest with you, I find that neat lemon curd can be a love or hate situation; by itself, I lean to hate. But when it's found in a sweet freshly baked pastry, I can be found solidly in the 'love' category.

To me lemons evoke spring. They're bright, fresh and sharp. Perfect for this time of year.
With the world coming back to life after winter, for me this recipe just tastes of spring.  

Early 19th century curd has some serious zing to it and it can only be best served in a sweet pastry tart with lashings of cream. So I am in love.

The recipe saw me take a couple of attempts. The cookbooks can be a bit of a devil to interpret. It’s almost a case of trying to climb into someone's head and understand what their personal notes mean. It’s a kind of getting to know you thing. 

I mean they are listed down as Lemon cheesecakes.

So, point in hand, Lemon cheesecakes are written down as follows:

"Put the strained juice and grated rind of one large fresh lemon into the saucepan with the yolks of an egg, two table-spoonful of sugar and a slice of butter the size of an egg. Stir the mixture without ceasing till the ingredients are thoroughly blended and it begins to thicken. Fill the patty cases with this mixture and bake"

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To make you'll need to rustle up some pastry tarts. I would also suggest not baking the curd in the cases but instead leaving them too cool.

How to:

Pre-heat your oven at 180 degrees. Take some sweet pastry (pre-made or homemade)

[Sweet pastry:

500g plain flour

100g icing sugar
250g butter
2 large eggs
tbsp of milk

Add into a food processor and whiz until a dough is formed]

Roll out until the thickness of a £1 coin (3mm). Cut out tartlet shapes and place into a lined tart dish. Place in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes.

While the pastry cases are baking make your lemon curd:

For 12 cup cakes you need to make batches of the below by just tripling the the numbers

One batch:
1 lemon juice and rind
1 egg yolk
1 lump of butter the size of an egg (50g)
2 tbsp of sugar.

Add the lemon rind, lemon juice, sugar and egg yolk over a low heat, stirring until the sauce thickens up and coats the back of the spoon. This takes around 5-10 minutes.

Once the pastry cases are done, pour the curd into them and just leave cool (despite what the recipe says)

Bring out, cool and serve with as much cream as you like (or need).

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