Burnt Lemon Passion Fruit Tart

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Recipe taken from NINA St Tropez:

The classic tarte au citron always reminds me of Marlene Féline, who lives a few doors down from me.  On Marlene’s birthday her daughter Agnès goes to Grimaud to pick up her mother’s favourite tart from a specific pâtisserie.  My lemon tart is based on it, but I balance the lemon with passion fruit to cut through some of the acidity.

Serves 8-10

1⁄2 quantity sweet pastry (below)

1 vanilla pod

3 free-range medium eggs, plus 5 yolks

180g unrefined caster sugar

finely grated zest of 5 unwaxed lemons, plus the juice of 21⁄2 unwaxed lemons

11⁄2 passion fruits, pulp scooped out

150g soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

For the pastry:

480g plain flour

150g unrefined icing sugar

finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

225g cold unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing

2 free-range medium egg yolks

3–4 tbsp cold water sea salt

Make the pastry by combining the first four ingredients and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Slowly add the butter and beat at medium speed for 5 minutes, then add the egg yolk.  Add 1 tablespoon cold water and mix for a few minutes (you may need to add more water if the mixture looks dry).  Increase the speed and beat until everything comes together into a ball.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3 and grease a 25cm loose-bottom tart dish.  Grate the pastry over the tart dish in an even layer and press the dough into the dish with your hands.  Grate a little more for the edges and create an even layer.  You may not need all the pastry.  Gently prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake for about 25 minutes, until light in colour, but not golden.  Remove and leave to cool on a cooling rack.  Increase the oven temperature to 230°C/450°F/Gas mark 8.

Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a simmer.  Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife.  Place a heatproof bowl over the pan, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.  Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in it with a hand-held mixer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon zest, juice, passion fruit pulp and vanilla seeds, whisking constantly to stop the eggs curdling.  The mixture will begin to thicken after about 10 minutes, and at this point whisk in half the butter.  Increase the heat a little if needed.  Once combined, add the rest of the butter.  The whole process should take about 25 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a jug.  Now place the pastry shell in the oven, then pour the filling into it (this will prevent any spillage).  Bake for about 10–13 minutes, checking frequently.  Remove when the tart is beautifully speckled with brown spots and leave to cool. Once set, serve or store in the fridge until needed.  In case your oven doesn't go very hot then you can put it under the grill for about 5 minutes to get the effect.

Serve with some creme fraiche!

Nina ParkerComment