With all the lemons that came as gifts from our relative's flourishing kitchen garden, the first thought that came to mind was...a lemon tart. Much of the juice is used in my kitchen with the addition of some sugar (never in large doses), some rock salt and a dash of mint. It is indeed the most refreshing summer drink and exactly what we need reeling under these humid, humid conditions. But when a basket of the freshest lemons arrive, I need to use some elbow grease and think beyond nimbu pani!:) So a lemon tart it is...!
I started off with the candied zest in the morning. I used a slicer to remove a thin layer of the rind, careful not to include the pith as it tends to be bitter. These were cut into juliennes. Then I boiled them in water, not once, but twice, changing the water each time. A lot of the bitter taste must have gone because by then they tasted all right. The third time the water was changed, some sugar was also added. This was boiled till the water dried up. Then the zest was placed on a tray, on top of grease-proof paper and left at room temperature.
200 grams flour, sieved
100 grams butter, chilled and grated
1 egg, beaten
Chilled water, about 2 teaspoons
Half a teaspoon of lemon rind
In a bowl, add the flour and the butter. Rub with the tips of your fingers till they resemble breadcrumbs. Add the beaten egg and the lemon rind and bring the dough together without kneading. If some moisture is needed, you can sprinkle the chilled water at this point. Gently flatten the dough, wrap it in clingfilm and keep in the fridge. Let it rest for at least twenty minutes.
Grease a 10" tart tin with a removable bottom. Take a sheet of grease-proof paper and cut it into a round shape, a little larger than the tart tin. Butter the paper on one side.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it on a floured surface. Roll it a little bigger than the tart tin. Place the pastry on the tin and remove the overhanging extra dough by rolling the pin over the entire edge of the tin.
Prick with a fork all across the surface of the dough. Take the buttered paper with the greased side downwards. Place baking beans on the paper and bake in a moderate oven for about 12-15 minutes. Remove the paper and the beans and bake for another ten minutes or so. Remove and cool.
One cup of cream
About 50 grams of butter
80 grams sugar
The juice of two lemons
Separate the three eggs and beat them together with the other two. In another bowl add the cream, the butter and the sugar and whisk on top of boiling water in a saucepan. The water must not touch the bottom of the bowl. Gradually whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice. The sugar can be adjusted at this point. Whisk till the mixture turns a little thick. Remove and let it cool.
Preheat the oven at 175* C. Place the crust on the oven tray and pour the filling till almost full. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When it's done, let it cool. Serve the tart in wedges with a sprinkling of the candied zest and tiny sprigs of fresh mint.