I wouldn't normally call things perfect or the best, unless I truly thought it was. This lemon tart IS perfect. It is the PERFECT amount of lemon flavour. It is the PERFECT smooth, silky custard filling and the PERFECT amount of sweet shortcrust pastry with a golden, crispy edge. You won't need another lemon tart recipe!
Ingredients For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1/4 cup of icing sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
125g chilled, unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly whisked
chilled water (optional)
For the filling:
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup of caster sugar
Finely grated zest of two medium lemons or one large lemon
1/2 cup of strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
150ml pouring/thickened (whipping) cream
For the pastry. Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a large bowl. With your palms facing upwards, use your fingertips to rub in the butter, lifting the flour mixture up as you mix it in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add the whisked eggs and using a flat-bladed knife to gradually incorporate until a coarse dough forms, adding water ONLY if necessary. I didnít need to add the water to my dough was smooth enough but if you do, add just a little at a time. It should be soft, but not too sticky.
Turn dough out on to lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough is nice and smooth.
Shape the dough in to a disc and wrap in glad-wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest before rolling out.
Use a lightly-floured rolling pin to roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 4mm thick. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully ease it in to a greased tart tin, pressing it in to the edges with your fingertips.
At this stage you can trim the excess pastry from the top or you can leave a slight overhang of pastry to avoid the dough shrinking too much while baking. Wrap in glad wrap and place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Line the pastry shell with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove rice/beads and baking paper and bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden.
Just before the pastry shell is ready, prepare the filling. Use a balloon whisk to mix the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until well combined. Add the lemon juice (strained first) and cream and gently whisk to combine. Strain the filling (use a sieve) in to a jug or bowl.
Remove the pastry shell from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180 C. Pour the filling in to the hot pastry shell and bake for 30 minutes or until JUST set in the centre (slight wobble).
Cool the tart in the tin before removing to a serving plate. Serve on its own or with ice cream or cream!