Monday, 29 August 2011

Tarte Au Citron - My First Attempt, But Not my Last

After watching The Great British Bake Off (BBC TV, see iplayer link below, whilst available). I decided to try something a bit harder than oat and raisin biscuits (which are great by the way!) When the programme finished my partner said he liked Tarte au Citron and so decided I would surprise him with one. I was nervous because there are skills that I have never done before and the instructions were extensive. If I was going to do this properly I would also attempt to make my own pastry.

You make the filling when you are cooling down the pastry after the blind baking.

For the pastry:
175g plain flour
100g cold butter, cut into small cubes
25g icing sugar
1 large free-range egg yolk
1 tbs icy water

For the filling:
5 large free-range eggs
125ml double cream
225g caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 4 medium lemons (you need 150ml of juice)

1 x 23cm fluted deep loose-based tart tin.
Non-stick baking paper

Put the flour, butter and icing sugar into a bowl and rub together with your finger tips until they look like breadcrumbs. If you have a food-processor use the “pulse” briefly until completed. Add the egg yolks and water then mix until the mixture sticks together in clumps.

Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball and knead the pastry about 2 or 3 times to make it smooth. Wrap the mixture into greaseproof paper or clingfilm and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Lay a piece of non-stick baking paper on the work counter. Remove the base from the tart tin and lay it on the paper. With a pencil draw a circle on the paper, 4cm bigger than the tin base. Dust the base of the tin with flour.

Place the pastry ball in the centre of the tin base. Flatten out the ball of pastry slightly then roll it out until it meets the edge of the pencilled circle. As you are rolling out, turn the pasty by turning the paper.

Once completed gently fold the pastry surrounding the tin base inwards . Carefully lift the tin base off the paper and drop gently into the tin. Ease the folded-over pastry into the corners and up the sides of the tin, pressing the overhang lightly over the rim of the tin.

Press the pastry evenly into the flutes of the tin. If there are any cracks in the pastry press them together until sealed. Prick the base with a fork (this stops bubbles forming in the base when blind baking) but ensure you don't press too hard as you don't want to break through to the base of the tin. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6, remove the clingfilm and line the pastry case with the non stick baking paper and fill it with baking beans (I used dried kidney beans which are cheap to buy) and cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove the baking beans (or kidney beans if using) and carefully cut off the baked over hang of the pastry with a knife. Once all the excess pastry has been removed put the tin back into the oven and cook the pastry for another 10-12 minutes, until it is a pale golden colour and completely dry. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

Reduce the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk until well combined. Transfer the mixture into a jug. Pour the mixture into the cooled baked pastry case and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the filling is just set but with a slight wobble in the centre. Leave to cool slightly until the pastry seems firm enough, then remove the tart from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving.

NB When I poured the liquid in I overfilled the case and when I tried to place in the oven I spilled some over the edges. My advice, before pouring, place the pastry base on the oven tray and then pour the liquid in very slowly as it fills up and then push the tray back being careful not to spill any liquid.

When I had finished cooking I let the tarte cool down and then tried to remove from the tin. This is where the spillage caused me problems as the base would not lift out as the pastry had stuck against the tray. I then slightly tipped the tin to the side and the filling fell out! The air in my house suddenly went VERY blue, but as it was still warm I placed the filling back into the base and smoothed it over with a knife. I then got the same knife and cut the edges of the pastry away from the pastry tin and finally managed to get it on to a plate.

I was actually pleased at the way it turned out even with the accident and have learned some lessons and can't wait to try this again. I also learnt that my oven, although fan assisted doesn't cook evenly and I should have turned the the tin a couple of times whilst cooking, as you can see in the picture. I served it with cream - delicious!

This recipe came from the Great British Bake Off (How to Bake) and if you want to learn to bake I would highly recommend this book – or even if you are experienced there are some great recipes with hints and tips. 
RRP 25


Hanna said...

Looks gorgeous and I'm glad you managed to save it! I once dropped an entire tart on the floor as I was lifting it out of the oven!

Janice said...

Well done on coming back from disaster, I think we have all been there. At least you weren't doing it on the telly!!!

Donkey said...

thanks very much Hanna and Janice - was glad no one was in the house at the time as if I had to put a pound in a box for every swear word I would have been in debt. haha

Anonymous said...

I saw that episode, yours looks brilliant - no cracks!! Great tip to fill while on the oven wrack too.