Delia Smith's Winter Collection
JANUARY 30 2012


The custard in this tart is so impossibly light it all but disappears on the tongue, leaving only the essence of lemon filling your senses. Like eating the lemon's very soul.

While there are quite a few steps in this recipe, nothing about it is all that difficult.
The crust came together quickly in the food processor. I struggled a little to get it formed into the pan (an actual fluted tart pan would probably make things easier), but finally the sides stayed up long enough for me to pop it in the oven to pre-bake.

lovely, flaky crust

Okay lemons, it's your time to shine! All I need is every inch of your zest and to wring out every ounce of your juice to be whisked with eggs, cream and superfine sugar (nee caster sugar : "a very fine sugar in Britain, so named because the grains are small enough to fit though a sugar "caster" or sprinkler"). Sound good? I promise your sacrifice will be worth it.

naked lemons waiting to be juiced

Pour the lemony-eggy filling into the lightly browned crust and bake 30 minutes until set but still springy. Let rest about half and hour before slicing (if you can keep your hands off that long!) and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar (nee icing sugar) and a generous dollop crème fraîche. Or, if you ended up shopping at Albertsons, which totally sucks, and can't find crème fraîche, mix a little heavy cream into sour cream and you're good to go.

Time for your mind to be blown! Those lemons don't want you to forget their sacrifice and deliver quite a punch. But I'm willing to bet you will be licking your plate clean :)


Serves 6 - 8

For the pastry base:
6 oz plain flour
1½ oz powdered sugar
3 oz butter
Pinch salt
1 large egg yolk (reserve white for later use)

For the filling:
6 - 8 lemons
6 large eggs
6 oz superfine sugar
(I didn't have superfine sugar, so I just ran some regular sugar through the coffee grinder. Worked like a charm!)
7 fl oz whipping cream

To serve:
Powdered sugar
Crème fraîche

You will also need a deep, fluted quiche tin with a loose base 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter and 1½ inches (4 cm) deep, lightly oiled.


The best way to make the pastry is in a food processor. To do this add all the pastry ingredients (except the egg white) to the bowl with 1 tablespoon water and process until it forms a firm dough. Then turn it out and knead lightly before placing in a polythene bag and leaving in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

To cook the pastry base, pre-heat the oven to 400°F and place a solid baking sheet inside to preheat as well. Now roll out the pastry as thinly as possible and carefully line the quiche tin, pressing the pastry around the base and sides so that it comes about ¼ inch above the edge of the tin. Then prick the base with a fork and brush it all over with the reserved egg white, which you should lightly beat first. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle shelf for 20 minutes, then, as you remove it, turn the temperature down to 350°F.

To make the filling, grate the zest from 6 of the lemons, and squeeze enough juice to give 10 fl oz. Now break the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and whisk to combine, but don't overdo it or the eggs will thicken. Next add the lemon juice and zest followed by the cream, and whisk lightly. Now pour it all into a 2 pint jug. The easiest way to fill the tart is to place the pastry case on the baking sheet in the oven, and then pour the filling straight into the pastry (this avoids having to carry the tart to the oven and spilling it). Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tart is set and feels springy in the centre. Let it cool for about half an hour if you want to serve it warm. It's also extremely good served chilled. Either way, dust it with icing sugar just before serving and serve with well-chilled crème fraîche. 

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

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