Lemon tart

Jayne Middlemiss' favourite dinner party dessert - as featured in the October 2009 issue of Marie Claire

Ingredients:

For the pastry
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g icing sugar
Half a vanilla pod
1 large egg, beaten
250g plain flour
A pinch of salt

For the filling
9 large eggs
400g caster sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 5 lemons
250ml double cream

Method:

1. First, make the pastry. Cream together butter and icing sugar, then add seeds from the vanilla pod and the egg and combine thoroughly. Add flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Flatten the dough into a disc, cover and chill for at least an hour, until firm.

2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 20cm fluted tart tin with a depth of 3.5cm. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper, fill with rice and chill again for 20 minutes. Then, preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350°F and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf while the oven heats.

3. Bake the pastry case on the sheet for 15 minutes, until pale golden. Remove paper and rice and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from the oven, then reduce heat to gas mark 2/150°C/300°F.

4. For the filling, whisk  eggs, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add double cream and rewhisk. 

5. Pour filling into the pastry and return to oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until just set. Remove and leave to cool.

6. Dust the top of the tart with a layer of icing sugar and caramelise using a blowtorch. Cut the tart into slices and serve with fresh redcurrants, crème fraiche and a sprig of mint for garnish.

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