My grandparents have their own fruit and vegetable garden and, inevitably, they grow too much produce for just the two of them to consume. Thus it falls onto my family to accept their many gifts of produce. Unfortunately, they often bring the food in batches and at the moment, I’m inundated with cumquats and passionfruit.
As well as this, I was recently given a pastry book. I have never made pastry before.
Actually, making the pastry wasn’t too difficult, except for the transferring of the rolled pastry to the baking dish. I was also a bit worried about the wetness of the tart filling, but after a while, it soon coagulated.
Additionally, the recipe called for the “juice and zest of 2 lemons” – I estimated this to be approximately 1/2 cup of juice and 2 tsp of zest.
The recipe said to make the pastry on a bench top, but I made it in a bowl for ease of cleaning. Making pastry is a lot like mixing cement, only in a smaller quantity 😀
It was very sticky at first, and quite wet – I wasn’t sure whether it would be possible to roll later. Luckily, the temperature cooled in the house, so the pastry didn’t melt too much when I took it out of the fridge.
Microwaving butter can lead to the butter spitting everywhere and dirtying the inside of your microwave. Alternatively, you can melt it in a pot on the stove, but that requires watching the butter so it doesn’t burn. I like to fill a noodle-bowl with boiling water, then place a cereal-bowl on top, with the butter in it. This melts the butter slowly, but gently and if you set this up before preparing all the other ingredients, it can save a lot of time.
I have no idea how to blind bake, so after blind baking using temperatures from a different recipe, the edges of the pastry were a bit burnt… I’ve given you what I think would be a better temperature and time.
This is how the tart looked before being cooked. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have made the tart edges stick up so much.
And this is the tart after cooking. The edges grew lot darker (luckily, they didn’t taste burnt) and the consistency of the filling went from watery to semi-solid and creamy.
Tarte au Citron avec Pâte Sucrée - Citrus Tart with Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
250g plain flour
100g butter, cubed and slightly softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup citrus juice (lemon, cumquat, lime, orange, etc.)
2 tsp zest
115g butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1 Tbs cornflour, sifted
Sift the flour into a bowl or onto a bench top and make a well.
Pour in the butter, icing sugar and salt.
Mix with your fingertips, drawing the flour in from the edges, until the dough is slightly grainy*.
Make another well, and stir in the eggs.
Knead a couple of times until the dough is smooth, then wrap it in clingwrap for 2 hours.
While the pastry cools, make the filling.
Mix the zest, juice, butter, eggs, sugar, flour and cornflour in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
Now blind bake, assemble and cook.
Unwrap the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it to a 2 – 3mm thickness.
Carefully pick up the dough and drape it over your pie-dish.
Using the base of your rolling-pin and your fingers, flatten the pastry on the bottom and make sure it fills the bottom edge without being too thick.
Trim the top edges.
Line the pastry with baking paper, and use weights or uncooked rice to blind bake at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Remove the weights or rice and paper from the pastry, and cook a further 10 minutes until golden.
Pour the filling in and bake for 15 minutes, or until the filling has set.
Cool for 20 minutes before removing from the tin.
Serve warm or cold.
*The finer the grains in your pastry, the more crumbly but less flaky it will be. If you blend the pastry dough in a food processor, it will be quite crumbly. This is because the ‘grains’ are actually lumps of butter. When you cook the pastry, these lumps melt and form bubbles of air in the pastry, creating lots of layers, which lead to the flakiness. The bigger the grains, the more separated the layers. Also, try not to mix the pastry too much, or you run the risk of developing gluten, which will cause your pastry to be chewy.