The Perfect Lemon Tart

Heston Blumenthal has crazy recipes of all kinds, so I decided to make a dessert using a thermometer.

In recent times, my boyfriend and I were introduced with famous British chef Heston Blumenthal’s cooking show by my his brother. Since then, we have been watching each episode thoroughly to find and be inspired by a perfect recipe for many dishes. It is insane I must say as Heston is an amazing chef, he did plenty of crazy experiments in his cooking, and one such experiment yielded this magnificent lemon tart.

My partner is crazily in love with Heston and he ordered Heston’s cookbook online so he can start experimenting. I extracted this lemon tart recipe online, without knowing the book was on the way. Anyway, with internet today you can find any kind of information in one click and you rarely have to pay for the privilege.

Back to lemon tart, I am quite surprised with how the pastry was made. The ingredients required are very different from any kind of sweet pastry that I have made before. It called for three egg yolks, icing sugar, vanilla bean, butter and flour. It is unusual that the recipe asked for egg yolks only instead of whole eggs.  The result, however, is undeniably fantastic.

If you happen to know Heston well enough, he loves his thermometer, always measuring the temperature of the food to achieve a perfect result. The lemon filling has to be cooked in a double boiler until it reaches 62 degrees Celcius. Strain the filling into a jug then bring the jug to an oven then pour the lemon filling into a cooked tart case that has been pre-heated in an oven at 120 degrees Celcius. What we are looking to achieve is just to cook the filling until it sets, approximately 25 minutes of Heston’s method. This proceeds until the lemon filling reaches 70 degrees celcius when tested with. thermometer.

From my previous experience, use double cream or thickened cream for the best result. Do not use cooking cream as it will taste strange. Please do not ask me why I used cooking cream, believe it or not, I have never bought one before – I must have been dreaming when I was shopping.  Well that experiment was a failure, but at least our readers can benefit!

The last time I made this lemon tart was for a Christmas party. Heston’s recipe book advised for the pastry to be blind baked for 30 minutes and further 10 minutes in the oven. I ended up burning my pastry a little bit and had to remake another one using the timings from the online recipe (which are of shorter duration than the book). It still tasted good, could not taste the burnt however as you may see from the picture, it is pretty dark.

I do not know why I ended up making this lemon tart, I must be out of my mind. It requires more work than I anticipated, yet the result was quite satisfying. I made this tart several times now and I have convinced a few people who dislike lemon tart to start loving it. I changed their perception about it as they always found those in the shop are full of artificial flavours. Will I be ordering lemon tart from a cafe? Of course! Why? Because you got to taste the difference and knowing what you make is beyond cafe quality. Call me a snob, maybe, but anyone who has tasted Heston’s lemon tart will agree.

Have you made a challenging recipe recently? If so, please share in the comments below.  

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