This recipe comes from Nico Ladenis’ restaurant Chez Nico, and was brought to Historic Sussex Hotels by Martin Hadden when he became executive chef. Over the years, it has become the house dessert at Ockenden Manor, which head chef Stephen Crane and myself are proud to have on the menu.
- Yield: 12 Servings (24 cm high-sided tart)
- Preparation Time: 50 Minutes
- 500 g sweet pastry
- 1 beaten egg
- 9 medium eggs
- 4 large lemons
- 250 g caster sugar
- 700 g fresh double cream
- 40 g caster sugar to caramelize
- Make the sweet pastry, and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Line the tart tin with the pastry and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Bake blind the pastry base and cool.
- Carefully brush the pastry base with the beaten egg. Put it back in the oven for 4 minutes at 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3, then brush it a second time. Set the base aside, turn the oven temperature down to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼ and switch off the fan.
- For the lemon cream, break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them with a whisk. Grate thinly the zest of 3 lemons and mix with the juice of 4 lemons. Put 200 g of lemon mix (zest and juice), together with the caster sugar, in a saucepan, and the cream in another. Bring both pans to the boil simultaneously, stirring occasionally. While whisking, pour the boiling lemon mix on top of the beaten egg followed by the boiling cream. Pass the lemon cream through a very fine sieve and skim the surface with a ladle.
- Fill the tart base evenly with the lemon cream using a small jug and/or a ladle. Place the tart base in the oven (110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼, no fan, low shelf). Cook the lemon cream for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Start checking after 35 minutes and then every 5 minutes until it’s cooked. The cream should be set like a jelly, gently moving in the middle. Cool at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Cut the lemon tart with a sharp knife. Warm up the blade using a blowtorch or a jug filled with boiling water. Slice the tart and place on a large tray. Sprinkle some caster sugar on the top of each slice, remove the excess using your index finger and caramelize them with a blowtorch. Serve within 15 minutes with blackcurrent sorbet.