Introduction: Infinitely Enjoyable French Lemon Pie - There's Always Enough 𝞹 to Share
Some years ago the French adopted, a very popular lunch, dinner or general party ritual, in that the guests always share the cooking by providing dessert. It's a great idea, apart from the logistics which means you often have to balance a pie and sometimes a jug of cream or custard on your lap whilst travelling by car if the party is at a distance. The other draw-back is after a copious dinner of starter, main course, cheese and salad you are expected to try all the desserts. With a big party this can be a real challenge.
Lemon pie is often not included on the repertoire of many guests' dessert lists because it doesn't travel well; the problem being soggy pastry. I have a friend who gets around this by bringing his pastry shell empty and the filling in a jar, which is a great workaround. However, I came across this hack which I believe is even better because you don't have to mess about creating your pie in the host's kitchen (always full of guests) and take the chance, in the crush, of spilling the filling all over your or (someone else's) party frock.
Step 1: Ingredients
Among all the iconic French pastries, this lemon pie, is perhaps the most seemingly simple and easy to create.
Conversely and perhaps because of its fame (you can almost guarantee to find it on every dessert menu), it is sadly often the most horridly generic and synthetic too.
In perhaps no other French tart and purely because of its few ingredients, is the quality of the raw materials so crucial.
For this reason and despite its ubiquitous nature, a good tarte au citron, can be the centrepiece to any afternoon tea or the crowning glory of an elegant dinner party.
All my ingredients are organic.
For the Pastry:
This to line a small tart dish (I'm using a 8½" or 22cm circular dish with an internal depth of 1¼" or 30mm).
1 cup - 5oz - 125g flour (either plain or gluten free) I have made both
2½oz - 80g butter
3 dessert spoons of sugar
1 small egg
the zest of 1 lemon
a little cold water
2½oz -80g plain chocolate
For the Filling:
5 small or three large lemons
4 bantam eggs or 2 large eggs
2½oz - 80g of butter
¾cup - 5oz - 160g of sugar
Step 2: Make the Pastry Shell
Temperature: Preheat oven to 400°F - 200°C
Rub together the butter and sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, add the sugar and lemon zest.
Mix in the beaten egg and enough water to make a smooth dough.
Roll out the paste with a floured pin onto a floured board.
Line the dish with the pasty. I fold it over the edges to keep it in place but some people prefer to line it with baking paper and fill it with dried beans (this is to hold its shape whilst baking).
Bake the tart blind (i.e. with no filling) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. If you are making this for yourself then don't worry about how rustic it looks but if you want to show it off, then trim the uneven border to make an elegant edge to the pie. Normally this would be cut level with the filling.
Leave to cool.
Step 3: Prepare the Pastry for the Filling
When cool coat the base with chocolate which has been melted in a bain marie aka a glass jug heated in a pan of hot water.
Leave some chocolate to write on the tart.
This method of double lining the pie base is really useful for the gluten-free version too as it makes up for the possibility of cracks and the crumbly nature of the pastry. I found this hack or tip on the blog La Cuisine de Mercotte.
Step 4: Make the Filling
Add the juice and zest of the fruit, the butter and the sugar into a pan and heat gently until the butter melts.
Add the beaten egg and then keep stirring until the mix coats the back of the spoon. It is very easy for me to gauge this because I make so much ice-cream but if you are at all worried (i.e. of getting scrambled egg) then put the mixture into a glass bowl and use the bain marie method as with the chocolate.
Leave to cool slightly and then pour into the pastry shell.
Once a skin has formed on the surface of the pie, use a spoon to carefully write Citron or whatever you feel like on the top of the tart.
Enjoy and share with friends, family and neighbours.
Find more recipes on my site Simply Organic Recipes
All the very best from Normandie, Sue xx
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