On days like these, when the sky is grey and it is cold and bitter outside, it’s hard to imagine an end to winter and with the forecast predicting snow this week, it’s definitely not about to end any time soon. During these long spells of wintery weather, I find myself dreaming of summer, of the July sunshine and lazy afternoons in the park, picnics, warm evenings, cold drinks and whiling away the hours in the company of good friends. When I think of summer and food, the first words that spring to mind are fresh and clean, bright flavours, vibrant and full of life. Lemon tart is all of these things, so it is no surprise that, when I craved a taste of summer last week, lemon tart was my first choice.
I love lemon tart, but it has to be sharp and citrussy, sour enough to make your mouth water just thinking about it but edged with a hint of sweetness. This was my first attempt at lemon tart, and there are definitely some issues to resolve, the main one being the fact that the filling seems to have boiled and therefore overbaked and started to come away from the pastry. (Whether it was due to the cooking period suggested by the recipe or the temperamental oven that I have at my university house, I am not entirely sure. Only a second attempt will reveal the answer!) Also, the zest of the lemons could have been grated more finely; while it was fine for home consumption, I feel that in future it would be better with less coarse zest. Finally, a confession; I cheated and used shop-bought pastry, not feeling inclined to make my own from scratch. Taste-wise, there was nothing wrong with it, and it was extremely easy to work with. However, being the raging perfectionist that I am, it didn’t really satisfy me because I know that had I made my own, it would have been a better tart for it. (That will teach me not to be lazy and cheat in the future!)
Overall, not a bad first try, but several lessons to be learned, I think. For a wishful taste of summer though, it absolutely hit the mark. One bite is enough to transport you to a sunny afternoon in July, and that is exactly what I need right now.
(Recipe by Dan Lepard.)