We all know Heston Blumenthal is amazing. Usually his recipes involve stuff that sounds more like a science experiment – dry ice, paint sprays, super chillers etc but his latest TV gig ‘How to cook like Heston’ has a few recipes that are meant for regular folks! Hooray!
The first episode was about eggs. How to poach, scramble, make scotch eggs and bacon and egg ice-cream like Heston. Yeah right, bacon and egg ice-cream…let me just pop to the store and get some dry ice after work and I’ll whip some up! Not!
To be fair, this particular lemon tart recipe from the egg episode was easy to follow and not bizarre in any way.
The only tart tin I had was a shallow one so I couldn’t get the same proportion of luscious lemon custard to pastry the same way Heston did. Actually I had more pastry than lemon custard but it tasted really, really good. All lemony, smooth and sweet. Oh alright, I need to get a proper tart tin and try this again.
Original recipe below from ‘Heston Blumenthal at Home’
(I halved the recipe to fit a shallow 30 cm tart tin)
For the pastry
300g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
120g icing sugar
3 large egg yolks
Seeds from ½ vanilla pod
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
1 egg for the egg wash
For the filling
Finely grated zest and juice of 5 lemons
300ml double cream
390g white caster sugar
9 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1.Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, butter and salt on low speed until it becomes a sand like texture (approximately 2-3 minutes).
2.In the meantime, in a tall container blitz together the icing sugar and egg yolks with a hand blender.
3.Add the vanilla seeds and lemon zest to the egg yolk mixture and then add to the bowl in the mixer and continue to mix on low speed until fully combined and a very soft dough has formed (approximately 3-5 minutes).
4.Mould the dough into a flat rectangle and wrap it in clingfilm before placing in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
5.Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 2mm, using two stacked 2 pence coins as guides, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
6.Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC/gas mark 5. Line a 26cm tart tin (2.5cm deep) with the pastry making sure to press it into the edges and leaving the pastry hanging over the edge.
7.Take a sheet of baking paper and scrunch it up several times to eliminate any sharp edges. Prick the dough with a fork all over the surface. Place the baking paper on top and add enough coins (or baking beans) to fill the casing ¼ of the way up. Place in the preheated oven to bake for approximately 20 minutes or until fully cooked.
8.In the meantime, mix some of the leftover dough with an egg using a hand blender.
9.After 20 minutes, remove the baking paper and coins and, using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the tart with the dough and egg mixture. This ‘liquid pastry’ will ensure that any holes will be sealed. Return the tart to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
10.Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool completely.
11.When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 120ºC/gas mark ½. Place the baked pastry case in the oven to warm up.
12.Put all the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix together using a spatula. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to warm up until the temperature reaches 60ºC. At this point, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. With a spoon, remove the bubbles from the surface of the liquid.
13.Slide the oven rack out a bit, then pour the mixture into the warm pastry case inside the oven. Fill the case to the top, slide the rack carefully back in, and bake the tart for approximately 25 minutes or until the temperature of the filling reaches 70ºC. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.
14.Just before serving, trim the overhanging pastry by running a sharp knife round the top of the tart tin and discard. .