These lemon tarts are so elegant and especially delightful for afternoon tea. The fragrance of lemon is so tempting and its sourness just balances the sweetness of crust. Every time I make this tart, it becomes a big hit in my family.
Prepare 4 round 10cm tart moulds
- 125 gm plain flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- 100 gm cold unsalted butter
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 to 2 Tbsp ice-cold water
Lemon curd filling:
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lemon zest
- 40 ml fresh lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks
- 60 gm caster sugar
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- 8 slices lemon, for garnish
To prepare sweet crust:
- Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.
- Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender if you have, or just use knives in a criss-crossing motion, blend the butter into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of damp sand, with a few pea-sized pieces remaining. (Note: don’t use hands, the butter would melt quickly otherwise.)
- Use a fork to beat the egg yolk with cold water. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the flour, stirring until the mixture becomes moistened. The dough should stick together and be able to hold the form of a ball.
- Cover the ball with plastic wrap. Smooth the ball of dough with a rolling pin to form a flat disc that fills the corners of the plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Note: If it has been chilled for a long time, it may need to soften slightly at room temperature before use.)
- Unwrap the disc and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough from the center of the disc to the edge, until the crust is the desired thickness. If the dough is sticking to the rolling pin, try placing a sheet of plastic wrap over it and then rolling it out.
- Use a cookie cutter to trim out 4 dough discs with around 0.5cm bigger than each tart mould in size. Place the dough into each tart mould. Carefully press the dough into the tart moulds. If any cracks appear during the transfer, use lightly floured fingers to push the seams back together. Trim the excess from the edges of the tart moulds. (Note: practice makes things perfect.)
- Prick the surface with a fork and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer. Bake blind for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C / 390F.
- Remove from the oven and brush the base of the tarts with lightly beaten egg. Return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the base of the crust is golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To prepare lemon curd filling:
- In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, the egg, egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a heavy-based saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Beware not to let the mixture boil.
- When the curd is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, until melted. Strain the curd through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and stir in the lemon zest.
To decorate tarts:
- Pour the lukewarm curd into the tart shells. For ease of slicing, chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Dust with icing sugar and garnish with lemon slices. Refrigerate any remaining tarts for up to 3 days.