Araxi Lemon Tart

Overbaked but not burned...

I was literally clapping my hands together with childlike glee at this week's recipe.  About four weeks ago we hosted a dinner party for our breeder friends (those kindred sleep deprived baby obsessed souls whom we befriended whilst expecting our first born over eight years ago).  I am crazily ambitious when planning any event, I won't bore you with the original menu compared to the scaled back menu.  My originally envisaged selection of tarts for dessert were scaled back from plural to singular.   Happily, I decreased the number after I had made two batches of *almost* the very pastry required for this weeks bake.  I say *almost* because as I read through Marie's post I realised that there was no lemon zest in my already prepared pastry.  I can't even pretend that I gave this more than a passing "oh, well".

Assuming you have pastry in the fridge this recipe is a complete doddle.  The most difficult thing is squeezing the lemons.  Particularly if your lemons are almost bereft of juice.  Particularly if the juiceless lemons take so long to cut and juice that your scales turn off and you weren't paying attention to the weight before they turned off so you have to wildly guess how much lemon juice you have already tipped into the cake mixer.  Sigh.  I think it was roughly right.  Maybe a bit more right than wrong as the final result was quite lip puckeringly tart.

The best citrus juicer ever
This is not a lemon curd tart, it is more of a lemon cream tart.  The ingredients of sugar and eggs are beaten together with the lemon juice.  Then in a separate bowl (and I was questioning Rose the whole time - really Rose, really?! A separate bowl?  Righto, but I can't see how this is going to make *any* difference to the end product - I do have quite long one sided conversations with my recipe books when I bake) the cream is whipped to soft peaks.  Then (this is where I really ramped up the crazy talk) you fold the cream into the egg/sugar/lemon mix.  I am not sure what happened to others at this point but my softly whipped cream disintegrated back into double cream.  I am certain the next time I make this tart I will be dispensing with that step (resulting in one less bowl and whisk to wash up).  This is then put back into the fridge, for I have no idea why, for half an hour.  Dark arts clearly at work.

Half an hour is probably just to allow for cleaning up the egg shells and juiceless lemon carcasses
The rolling of the pastry is, however, total genius, I marvel at it every single time.  I am sure I have posted pictures of it on this blog previously.   If your current method of moving pastry from bench to tart tin involves a rolling pin and cursing and patching, then undertake an investigation and search this out in the archives.  Your life will be forever better, I promise.

The pastry is blind baked.  I had quite a bad crack between the wall and the base of the tart which I thought would end with my lemon cream pooling in the bottom of the oven.  Fortunately a thorough application of egg white to hot pastry sealed any leaks.


The super glue that is egg white

Into the pastry case which has cooled for three minutes (I didn't set the timer) the lemon cream is ever so carefully tipped in and then baked.  In all it baked for 35 minutes.  I think this was about 8 minutes too long.  I am guessing 8 because it was too jiggly in the middle at 20 minutes and solid and just starting to pull away from the pastry after the second batch of 15 minutes.  There is the requisite cooling period of course at which point the cracks opened up like a bad earthquake movie.  Glad the fault lines were between filling a pastry and not in the centre of the tart.

An overbaked tart.  By the time this cooled that crack between the pastry and the filling could swallow a small child.
This tart had to sit overnight so it added to other peoples waist lines rather than our own.  It was eaten at work today, with only a smallish wedge to bring home for Chris.  I think it should be eaten on the day of making; the pastry was crisp when I sliced it last night, but very soft, some might say, soggy of bottom, this afternoon.  Also,interestingly, the lemon cream had separated into two layers, the layer just above the pastry is more like a traditional lemon curd and the top layer more creamy, almost like a lemon posset.  Maybe this comes about because the cream is whipped and sits and then is mixed through again?  Dark arts indeed.  I really wish I had cut a slice last night to compare to this afternoons sampling.  This is definitely on the make again but serve whilst still warm list.

Layers - can you see them?

This weekend - brandy snap cannoli.  I am beyond excited about these things.  I predict swearing, a few burns, exploding icing bags but ultimately happiness.


  1. Can I just say again how much I have missed your baking posts? They are so delightful. I have Rose's leftover pie dough thawing in the fridge and truly, am procrastinating rolling it out. I've never mastered her flipsy doodle pie thing. Your tart looks great to me.


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