When I see something new, I am very much incline to try out. Lemon has always been my favourite citrus fruit. It’s great in making salad dressings as well as in desserts.
I saw some lemons. They are rounder compared to regular lemons. They look more orangey in shade than bright yellow. They are really juicy and sweeter than ordinary lemons. I was told that they are called Bergamot lemons. I grabbed a big handful of them and put into a brown paper brown, weighted and paid.
Even before I reached home, I had a big smile on my face. The thought of lemon curd filled up a crunchy pastry case was a welcome sight!
Heston Bluementhal is one of the chefs that I respect. I love his creative mind – making food really interesting and beyond imagination. His recent cookbook – Heston Bluementhal at Home is a book that I told myself I had to have it after watching his cooking series on the TV.
For me, Henston is such a talented chef. Though, I have yet eaten at his 3 Michelin Star restaurant – The Fat Duck, which I hope I will be able to book a table for 2 one day for lunch. It’s really hard to get a reservation!
So, I decided to use the Bergamot lemons to make my all time favourite – Lemon Tart. I made Lemon Tartlet before with regular lemons and I love it. However, it was my first time of using Bergamot lemons. With the natural sweetness of Bergamot lemons, I have to adjust the amount of sugar used in Heston’s recipe. I just love the pretty unusual fragrant of these lemons and they were so juicy that I didn’t need a lot of to make into lemon curd.
Heston’s way of making his lemon tart is really simple and I totally love it!
Heston Bluementhal's Lemon Tart Recipe
Yield: 12 persons
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.