Rich and creamy with a delicous hint of gin this lemon and gin tart takes a classic lemon tart and turns it into a treat that is even more delicious.
I've taken a classic lemon tart and added a splash of gin to make it that little bit more special and believe me the combination of lemon and gin is just perfect.
When you serve this lemon and gin tart as a dessert after a dinner party or as a treat with afternoon tea or on whatever occasion you choose, I can assure you are not going to be disappointed.
The sweet pastry
I've chosen a basic sweet pastry for the pastry case which is easy to use. You can make it by hand if you like or if you have a food processor simply pulse the butter, flour and icing sugar together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the egg yolk and 1 tbsp water and blend until it comes together to form a dough. Adding a little more water if required. Once mixed turn out onto a lightly floured worksurface and lightly knead.
Baking the tart case blind
Roll out the pastry and use to line a 23cm (9in) fluted flan tin and bake blind. Baking blind is the term used for baking a pastry case without a filling. To do this the pastry case is first lined with a sheet of baking parchment or greaseproof pastry paper and then this is weighted down with baking beans. The baking beans stop the pastry case lifting as it cooks and helps to maintain the shape.
The paper and beans are then removed and the pastry case is returned to the oven so that the surface of the pastry can dry. You can use any dried beans, pulses or rice. Keep them in a tin or jar as they can be used again and again.
If you do a lot of baking you might want to invest in some ceramic beans. Ceramic beans heat up in the oven and help to make the pastry crisp.
Anyone who has watched Bake Off will know the worry every baker has of producing a tart with a soggy bottom. This can easily be avoided using this simple tip. As soon as the pastry case comes out of the oven brush the inside of the pastry case with a little beaten egg or egg white.
The heat of the pastry will cook the egg which will form a film that prevents the liquid from the filling soaking into the pastry on the second bake
The lemon and gin filing
The filling of this flan is based on the French classic Tarte au Citron. The filling is soft and creamy and the lemon flavour lightly tangy. The addition of gin just gives it a little lift.
Use unwaxed lemons if you can as both the juice and zest is used. If they are not available scrub the lemons under hot water to remove the waxy layer.
The oils in the lemon zest will give the filling lots of flavour but you want the filling to be smooth so use a Microplane grater, they really are the best for removing the zest without the pith of the lemon. If you don't have one use the finest grater you have.
Cook the filling in the pastry case until just set. The filling should still have a slight wobble when you gently shake the tart. Allow to cool before transferring to a serving plate.
The gin glaze
This is where the gin magic really happens! Before squeezing the lemon for the glaze use a zester to remove thin strands of the zest to decorate the tart. If you do not have a zest you can remove the zest in strips with a potato peeler, taking care not to include the white pith and finely shred. (Or skip altogether the tart will still look and taste fabulous.)
Place the icing sugar and cornflour into your smallest saucepan and stir in the squeezed juice. stir until combined then heat gently stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the gin. Pour over the tart tipping it gently one way and the other so that you have a thin layer of glaze over the entire surface of the tart.
Decorate with lemon zest and a few thyme leaves (I used lemon thyme).
Although the tart will keep for 2 - 3 days in the refrigerator, the gin flavour comes through best when it is first made. If possible glaze the tart just before serving. After a day or you may no longer be able to taste the gin.
Step by Step Lemon and Gin Tart
Lemon and gin tart
for the pastry case
- 200 g (7oz) plain flour all purpose flour
- 125 g (4oz) butter cut into cubes
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg seperated
- about 1 – 2 tbsp cold water
for the filling
- 2 lemons
- 150 ml (¼pt) double cream
- 175 g (6oz) golden caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp gin
- 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp gin
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- lemon thyme leaves to decorate (optional)
- 23cm (9in) fluted flan tin
- Rolling Pin
- baking beans
Make the pastry case
- Preheat the oven to 200℃ (180℃ fan)/400°F/gas mark 6. Place 200g (9oz) flour in a mixing bowl and rub in 125g (4oz) butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in 3 tbsp icing sugar. Add one egg yolk and enough water to mix to a dough. Lightly beat the egg white and set aside.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 23cm (9in) deep fluted flan tin. Lightly prick the base with a fork and chill for 30 moinutes in the refrigertor or 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake blind on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 8-10 minutes until pale golden.
- As soon as the pastry case coes out of the oven brush the inside of the pastry case with a little beaten egg white. Reduce the oven temperature to 160℃ (140℃ fan)/325°F/gas mark 3.
To make the filling
- Finely grate the zest from 2 lemons and squeeze the juice. Place 4 large eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk in 175g (6oz) caster sugar. Then whisk in 150ml (¼pt) double cream, 2 tbsp gin and the grated zest and lemon juice.
- Pour the lemon mixture into the pastry case and cook for 25 – 35 minutesor until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Remove the tart from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Using a zester remove the zest from 1 lemon, then squeeze the juice.
- Place 3 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp cornflour in a small pan then strain in the lemon jucie stirring to blend. Heat gently stirring until thickened, then stir in 2 tbsp gin.
- Spoon the glaze over the tart and decroate with the lemon zest and a few lemon thyme leaves.