Sunday, June 29, 2008
By Kevin Thornton
When it comes to defining the seasons, sometimes we just have to ignore the weather and go with our tastebuds. It’s the summer time and summer means citrus.
Citrus fruits are light and refreshing at this time of year, and are great palate cleansers during or after a meal. This lemon tart is delicious served with fresh raspberries or with a homemade sweet sorbet.
When buying lemons it is best to opt for relatively soft ones, as these tend to contain more juice. Taste the lemon mixture as you making it and add more lemon juice if a more tangy taste is preferred.
If you’re serving the tart with afternoon tea, try making your own tisane – a herbal tea which is a nice accompaniment to this zesty dessert. It’s made by placing either fresh lime leaves or fresh mint leaves in a teapot and adding boiling water.
Tarte au citron (lemon tart)
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
250g (8oz) flour
4 egg yolks
Half teaspoon salt
100g (3 and half oz) sugar
125g (4oz) butter
Seeds from two vanilla pods
100g (3 and half oz sugar)
grated rind and juice of 1 and half lemons
125g (4oz) melted butter
60g (2oz) whole blanched
27-30cm/11-12 inch pie pan
1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a large well in it.
2. Put egg yolks, salt, sugar and vanilla into the well and mix with fingertips until sugar dissolves.
3. Pound the butter with rolling pin to soften, add it to the well and quickly work with other ingredients until partly mixed. Draw in flour, pulling dough into large crumbs using fingertips of both hands. Press the dough together – it should be soft but not sticky.
4. Work on small portions of the dough, pushing it away from you on the work surface, then gathering it up with a spatula, drawing it towards you and pushing away again. Continue this until the dough is smooth and pliable. Press it into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
1. Make the sweet pastry and chill for 30 minutes or until firm. Set the oven at moderately hot (190C/375F).
2. Roll out the dough, line the pie pan and chill until firm. Bake blind in a heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until set, but not brown. Take from the oven, remove paper and let the pie shell cool slightly. Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted. Stir in the rind and lemon juice, followed by the melted butter and ground almonds.
4. Set the pie shell in the pan on the hot baking sheet and pour the mixture into the shell. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is golden brown and set. Serve at room temperature.
Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.