On a rainy day on holiday in France during the Rugby World Cup a couple of years ago I did a lot of cooking and baking. We got through over 5 packs of butter between two of us in less than 2 weeks... Needless to say I couldn't get into any of my work clothes on my first day back in the office after the holiday!
One recipe that I had time to perfect (and share with the lovely couple who we rented our holiday home from) was my lemon tart. Lemon tart is probably my most favourite dessert (apart from Mum's Pear and Rum Flan which one day I know she'll make for me again when she finds the recipe...), but whilst it can be glorious - sweet crisp pastry filled with with smooth, tangy, lemony goodness - it can also fall far short of the mark. Having time to perfect my recipe with good rugby on the TV meant I didn't mind so much that it was raining outside...
150g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
350g plain flour
275g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
190ml double cream
juice of 2 lemons (or 3 if they're not so juicy)
zest of 2 lemons
Make the pastry by combining all of the ingredients - I do this in my food processor but the 'traditional way' is to rub the butter and flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs and then add the sugar followed by the eggs and mix until the pastry comes together. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge. Roll the pastry and line a loose bottomed fluted tart tin and put that back in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
In a clean bowl, mix the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Then add the cream, lemon and zest.
Preheat the oven to around 190C and bake the pastry case with greaseproof paper and baking beads for about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beads and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Reduce the oven to 150C and pour the filling mixture into the pastry case. Bake for 35-40 minutes until set.