Lemon Tart – Tarte au citron

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A classic lemon tart has a wonderful balance of lemons and a crispy sweet base. Tart enough to tingle on the tongue and delight your senses!


About Menton and its lemon tradition

Menton © Vinbaron - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Menton © Vinbaron – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The city of Menton is located between the foot hills of the Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, 30 km away from Nice. Menton is said to be the most Italianate town of the French Riviera. The ochre-coloured huddled houses of the town centre, its baroque churches with their campaniles and colonnades, and its lush palm trees and citrus trees surely make Menton one of the jewels of the Riviera.

Already in the 19th century, even before Menton belonged to France, British tourists flocked to Menton to benefit from its mild climate during the winter season. Among them, many celebrities, such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Queen Victoria herself.

Before then, Menton’s whole economy depended on the cultivation of lemons. The town is known as being the only place in France where lemons grow. Each year, Menton celebrates the Lemon Festival with colourful parades – whose floats are creatively decorated with citrus fruits – and splendid fireworks. This event which lasts two weeks, should not be missed if you happen to visit the area in February.


Ingredients

Home made Lemon Tart © French Moments

Home made Lemon Tart © French Moments

serves 6

pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter cut in small cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 teaspoons of water

lemon filling

  • 2 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 50g unsalted butter

for decoration

  • raspberries or strawberries work well with a lemon tart, a dollap of double cream is always nice too!

Method

  • Make the pastry ‘pate brisée’ by rubbing in the flour and butter with your fingertips. Mix in the sugar then add the eggs and water and combine until the ingredients form a ball of dough. Knead lightly until smooth then wrap and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes.
  • Roll out the pastry into a large (25cm) tart tin. Trim the edges then chill again – this will help the pastry relax.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180℃.

  • Put the sugar with the eggs, cream, lemon zest and juice into a bowl and whisk until nice and creamy. Melt the butter and whisk into the lemon mixture. Take your pastry case out of the fridge and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake the tart for 15 minutes then reduce the oven to 160℃ and continue cooking until the filling has set (approx 20 minutes extra).
  • Before eating let it rest for about an hour.
  • Serve with some red fruits, double cream or vanilla bean icecream. We served it with some warmed raspberries and a dash of icing sugar to decorate.

 

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