A few years ago I went to Turkey. My dad came with me- not because he wanted to, because my mum didn’t want me going alone- and, as these things go, it turned out to be the place he met somebody very special. So a few years after that first trip, I went to Turkey again. This time for a wedding.
Will and I stayed in a tiny apartment with everyone, a huge tray of baklava, and a swimming pool. My dad and his lovely bride were wed, we ate some dinner at some cafe and drank sour cherry vodkas on the harbour. And we spent a few weeks living with them in the seaside village of Kas. And because I love to bake, I made lemon tart.
Turkey is an easy place to visit. Turkish people love visitors and are always ready to help, or at the very least offer a cup of hot sweet tea (also the food is delicious). So nothing bad can really happen. Perhaps that is what drew me to this tart while I was in Turkey- nothing can really go that wrong, it’ll still taste good. An easy place to visit; an easy tart to bake.
Or perhaps there were just a lot of lemons around the place. Probably that.
Whatever the reason, since then I have made this tart so many times. So, so many times. This is the best lemon tart ever. It may actually be the best thing ever. It is creamy and moreish and delicious. EVERY TIME. It can be more or less tart, it obligingly accepts a little orange juice in lieu of lemon, it is even good when you forget to blind bake the pastry first (I can attest).
It is the dessert that is most requested of me. It is also one of the easiest things I have ever made. So go get some lemons and make a tart.
A few weeks ago Dad decided to pack up and start a new chapter in Turkey. And so, before he left, I made this tart. A goodbye, a remember that time, an afternoon tea- all in a slice of lemon tart. And I thought, maybs some other people would like to eat this really nice thing. So I did this.
p.s. The tart I made is actually a lemon and orange blossom tart. Incredibly delicious and just a little less tart than the pure lemon. If you are going pure, Meyer lemons would be sublime.
Best-Thing-Ever Lemon and Orange Blossom Tart (very slightly adapted from trotski & ash)
280g plain flour
60g icing sugar
150g chilled butter
2 egg yolks + 2 egg yolks + 4 eggs
275g castor sugar
190ml whole cream
180ml lemon and orange juice (3/4-1/4 or 1/2-1/2 ratio)
2 lemon’s and 1 orange’s zest
1 tsp orange blossom water
Crumble the flour, icing sugar and butter in a bowl until you have a mixture that looks like buttery, crumbly sand. Add two of the egg yolks and combine it all into a smooth dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic and pop it into the freezer for at least an hour. You can also leave it in the fridge overnight and just give it a blast in the freezer 20 or so minutes before you are going to use it.
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Butter and flour a 25cm pie dish or flan tin with a remove-able base (depending on whether you want to serve the tart in or out of it’s cooking vessel). Grab your pastry from the freezer and grate it into the prepared dish, flattening, smoothing and generally shaping it with your fingers as you go. Once you have an even, smooth crust (you won’t need all the pastry…I usually have enough left over to make a few little mini tarts which I then eat almost immediately from the oven), cover it with baking paper and some weight and blind bake for 10-15 minutes.
While your pastry is cooling, it’s curd making time! Except it isn’t really curd, it’s easier than that.
Cream the remaining yolks and eggs with the sugar and then add the cream and mix, then the remaining ingredients. Pour into the cooled pastry and bake until the curd is just set- you want there to still be an ever so slight wobble in the centre (I would check after half an hour or so).
This tart is better the day after cooking. But it is still ridiculously good an hour after cooking. It’ll sit happily in the fridge for at least 3 days, but nobody will judge you if it’s gone before then.
P.S I made this for the six billionth time this morning and I fucked it up. I had no idea why and was ever so mad- this is the first time ever it hasn’t worked, but after a quick spot of googling I found that the order in which you mix the curd ingredients is very important- eggs + sugar AND THEN CREAM! Very important! If you add the lemon juice before the cream, the eggs will begin to curdle because there is no fat buffer between the acid and the eggs. SO get the order right, then you’re all good.