You may think it’s odd to combine citrusy, sharp lemon with the penetrating warmth that comes from ginger. But, it’s actually this reason that makes them the perfect match. The burnt sugar topping compliments the mellow ginger flavour and counteracts the sour tang of the lemon.
I made this tart because my uncle and his family were visiting. It’s tradition that when they come I make him a citrus dessert, whether that be a chocolate key lime pie or a blueberry and lemon cheesecake. However, this time I wanted to stay seasonal. I know lemons don’t seem seasonal but as we don’t grow them in England they’re in the supermarket all year round. I added ginger to the pastry for the cosy warmth that reminds of the darkening days that should be spent curled up by the fire. The scorched brulee top with its bitter edge reminds me of bonfire night, where we stand in the crisp cold; munching on cinder toffee and caramel dunked apples.
This tart is a fabulously easy dessert which is even better made ahead to let the flavours mature. If you don’t have a blow torch or just don’t fancy a brulee coating you can decorate the tart with berries. When I made it this summer I omitted the brulee top for plump, rosy raspberries (see below), you could even try a mixture of blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants dusted with icing sugar.
(This recipe makes one 9 and a 1/2 inch tart)
- 110g soft butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 200g plain four
- 3 level tsp of ground ginger
- pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 150ml double cream
- juice and zest of 4 lemons
- demerara sugar
1. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Then beat in the egg yolks until well incorporated. Finally stir in the flour, ginger and salt until it begins to come together into a uniform dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for half an hour in the fridge.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or 175 for fan assisted ovens. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it soften slightly at room temperature so you’re able to roll it. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and large enough to cover the base and sides of a 9 and a 1/2 inch tart tin. Carefully lay the pastry loosely in the tart tin, then using a small piece of excess pastry rolled into a ball press the pastry into the crevices and folds of the tin. Trim any excess pastry to neaten up the edges but you do want a slight over hang as the dough may shrink slightly in the oven. Place the tart case back in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
3. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the tart tin and scrunch it up. Then unfold the paper and cover the pastry with it. Pour in baking beans, dried rice or lentils etc to make and even covering across the paper. Bake blind for 20 minutes and then remove the beans and paper before returning the tart to the oven for a further 10 minutes. The pastry will be slightly browner than normal due to the ginger but it’s cooked if it feels sandy when touched. Leave the tart to cool and turn the oven down to 160 degrees or 150 for fan assisted ovens.
4. In a bowl beat the eggs until loose and runny then whisk in the sugar followed by the cream and lemon zest and juice. Give it a final stir to insure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Pour the mixture into the tart case and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The filling will rise up in the oven but don’t worry, as it cools it will sink and level out again. The filling should not be darkened or golden and it should still wobble slightly when it comes out the oven. Leave the tart to cool completely in the tin.
5. When completely cold sprinkle over a layer of sugar and using a blow torch melt and caramelize the sugar. Leave it to set and store the tart in the fridge until serving. This tart is best consumed within two days.