I had every intention of making Papa a Key Lime Pie for father’s day – actually a key lime tart from Francois Payard’s recipe in Made in America. But then reality set in and having made the dough for the crust I had a change of heart – or rather I looked at how to make my friend Anneli’s version of Lemon Tart from Marco Pierre White. This simple easy as pie recipe involves none of the stirring and custard making and bowls over water and tempering and such like that always has me a little frustrated and can be intimidating. You simply whisk the ingredients for the filling together and pour into the hot tart shell.
Anneli makes this tart regularly for dinners and it’s always a huge hit. The story goes this is the tart that she used to win over her husband and his family. Now that I’ve made it up it’s going to be a regular go to dessert for our family.
I want to share this with you today just in case you have to take a last minute dessert for a 4th July BBQ tomorrow – it’s a winner on so many levels, not least as Rémy’s all time favorite, but also if you were blindfolded I really don’t think you could tell the difference between the lemon and key limes (especially since in a key lime tart recipe if you substitute regular limes for key limes you need to use 50% lemon juice 50% regular lime juice!).
Crust adapted from Francois Payard’s Key Lime Tart recipe in Made in America, lemon filling adapted from Marco Pierre White’s Harvey Tart via Anneli Harvey!
“Any chef worthy of his name will have a lemon tart on his menu and this one has been with me since Harvey’s, my first ever restaurant – we made it twice a day: in the morning just before lunch service and again in the early evening around 7pm just before dinner, so it was always fresh and aromatic.” Marco Pierre White, Marco Pierre White in Hell’s Kitchen, Edbury Press
Sweet Tart Dough
adapted from Francois Payard, Made in America
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
Makes one 11 inch tart or two small tarts
Filling adapted from Marco Pierre White
400 g baker’s sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
juice of 5 lemons
250 ml double cream
confectioners’ sugar for decorating
To Make the Lemon Tart
1. Sift together the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and salt into a bowl.
2. Place the butter in a food processor and process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Scatter the flour mixture over the butter; add the egg, and process just until the dough forms a mass; do not over mix. Turn the dough out onto the counter, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. The dough may be well wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.
3. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften. Lightly butter the fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
4. Dust a work surface lightly with flour. Dust the disc lightly with flour and, using two large sheets of plastic wrap, one underneath and one over the dough, roll out to a 14 inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap, dust lightly with flour and trasfer to the tart pan, flour side down. Remove the second piece of plastic wrap and gently ease the dough into the pan. Fold the excess dough over on itself at the top of the pan to create a slightly deeper tart. Chill the tart shell for 20 minutes. (The tart shell can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
5. Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter aluminum foil large enough to generously line the tart pan. Line the tart shell with the foil, buttered side down, and fill with dried beans, rice or pie weights. Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, start to prepare the lemon filling.
6. Whisk the eggs with the baker’s sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, then add the cream. Continue to whisk until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Skim any froth from the top.
7. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking for 5 minutes, until just set; the tart shells should have little or no color.
8. Reduce the oven temperature 250°F. Pour the cold filling into the hot pastry case (this will insure that the case is sealed). Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is beginning to set but still wobbles in the center when you move the pan.
9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and set for about an hour. When ready to serve, sprinkle the tart with icing sugar.
• Marco Pierre White Tip “The secret of a really good lemon tart is that the filling should be firm and clear and the pastry light and crisp. It should never be cut immediately after it is cooked as it needs time to cool and set for at least an hour, or the filling will be too runny.”