This lemon tart is a firm family favorite and the Queen of Irish food Darina Allen's top tip is to use organic lemons.
"All elements of this cake are delicious, but eaten together are sublime. Use organic lemons." – Darina Allen
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 175g (6oz) white flour
- 75g (3oz) butter
- 1 dessertspoon of castor or icing sugar
- beaten egg to bind
- 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
- zest of 2 organic lemons (washed well)
- juice of 3 organic lemons (200ml/7fl oz) and juice of 1 orange (150mls/5fl oz)
- 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
- 125g (4 1/2oz) sugar
Candied Julienne of Lemon Peel
- 2 organic lemons
- stock syrup made with 150g (5oz) sugar and 175ml (6fl oz) water, cooked together for 2 minutes (see recipe).
- mint or lemon balm leaves
- Softly Whipped Cream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.
- For the pastry, Line 1 x 22.5cm (9inch) tin. In a food processor, pulse together the butter, sugar, and flour to give coarse, “flat” breadcrumb texture. Add the egg and pulse again until the pastry comes together or make the pastry using the rubbing-in method. Flatten the pastry and wrap and chill for several hours if possible (may take more egg to bind). If the pastry is needed urgently, divide into 2-3 equal parts. Flatten and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes, or better still an hour.
- Roll the pastry out on a floured work surface, under a sheet of cling film. Slip the base of the tart tin under the pastry, lift into the tin and mold into the ring. Cover with cling film and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or freeze until needed.
- Bake blind for 30-35 minutes until it is pale golden and almost fully cooked. Remove the beans, paint the base with a little beaten egg or egg white and replace in the oven for 2-3 minutes. When it is cooked, let it cool while the filling is prepared.
- Lower the oven temperature to 160°C/320˚F/Gas Mark 3.
- Grate the lemon zest finely, (careful not to get any pith).
- Whisk all the ingredients for the tart filling together - the eggs, orange and lemon juice, lemon zest, cream, and sugar.
- When the mixture is nice and frothy, pour most of it through a sieve if you wish into the tart shell. The mixture needs to come right to the top, but to avoid spilling it put the partly filled tart into the oven (with the temperature now reduced). Finish filling it with a spoon.
- Bake the tart until the filling has become firm. This should take about 35 minutes. Check by giving the tin a little shake.
- When the tart is lukewarm, take the tart out of the tin and leave it on a wire rack to cool (best eaten on the day it’s made).
- To make the candied Julianna of Lemon Peel – Peel 2 lemons very thinly with a swivel top peeler, be careful not to include the white pith, cut the strips into a fine julienne.
- Put in a saucepan with 450ml of cold water and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the pot, refresh in cold water and repeat the process again. Put the julienne in a saucepan with the syrup and cook gently until the lemon julienne looks translucent.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool on Bakewell paper or a cake rack. When cold sprinkle with caster sugar. Can be stored in a jar or airtight tin for weeks or sometimes months.
Choose a plate to arrange a slice of lemon tart. Garnish with julienne of lemon peel (see recipe) and fresh mint or lemon balm leaves. Serve with a little softly whipped cream.
* This article was originally published on FOOD & WINE Ireland. Photography: Harry Weir. Originally published in 2019, updated in 2023.