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Burnt Sugar Lemon Tart

Lemon tarts became more common in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many of them being very rich with the addition of cream and eggs; and most of us are familiar with the lemon meringue pie.
This particular lemon tart is very simple and good to look at with its earthy last-minute grilling, and it is flexible in how it can be served.

ingredients

serves 6
225 g (8 oz) rich sweet shortcrust pastry
finely grated zest and juice of 5 large Lemons
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
2 teaspoons brandy or sherry
225 ml (8 fl oz) double cream
4 eggs, plus
4 egg yolks sifted icing sugar, for sprinkling on top

method

1. Line a deep 23cm (9 in) tart tin with the pastry and pre-bake or bake blind. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Pre-heat a baking sheet in the oven until warm.

2. Put the lemon zest and juice, caster sugar and brandy or sherry in a bowl and stir to mix. Slowly beat in the cream, followed by the eggs and egg yolks (one at a time).

3. Put the pre-baked pastry case on the warmed baking sheet and pour the lemon liquid into the tart case. Place the tart on the baking sheet in the centre of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is just set. If the edges of the pastry begin to colour too much and too quickly (have a look after about 15 minutes), cover the edges with some crinkled foil edging.

4. When cooked, remove the tart from the oven and pre-heat the grill to high. Sprinkle the tart with icing sugar and place under the hot grill until lightly browned. If you prefer, you can allow the tart to cool and then sprinkle it with icing sugar without putting it under the grill.

Serve hot, warm or cold with a dollop of fresh cream or creme fraiche.

Cook's Tip - This tart also goes well with raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. If you want to make it special, decorate the baked cool tart with fresh fruit (halved in the case of strawberries) and then sprinkle with icing sugar, but don't put it under the grill!

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