Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 27, 2021

© Shawn Taylor

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French Lemon Tart

Elizabeth Baird suggested I include this sophisticated version of the old-fashioned favourite, lemon meringue pie. This one is her choice, created in the Canadian Living Test Kitchen. It is tangy and truly lemony. The pastry is my recipe.

For the pastry
1¼ c. (300 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. (30 ml) granulated sugar
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) salt
1/3 c. (90 ml) cold unsalted butter, in bits
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cold lard or shortening, in bits
3 tbsp. (45 ml) ice water (approx)

For the filling
5 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 c. (250 ml) granulated sugar
¾ c. (180 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cold butter

For the topping
3 tbsp. (45 ml) apple jelly
assorted fruit (such as Cape gooseberries, blueberries and raspberries) or icing sugar

To make the pastry, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives cut in the butter and lard until it forms fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture, tossing with a fork until the dough clumps, adding up to 1 tbsp. (15 ml) more water if the mixture is too crumbly.

Turn out onto a work surface and press into a smooth ball; flatten into a disc. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to an 11-inch (28-cm) circle. Fit it into a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim to 1-inch (2.5-cm) overhang; fold the extra inside and press the pastry together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, covered.

With a fork, prick the bottom at ½-inch (1-cm) intervals. Line with foil or parchment; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the bottom third of a 400°F (200°C) oven until the edge starts to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and prick the bottom again; bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

To make the filling, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice in the top of a double boiler or large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring often, until translucent and thick enough to mound on a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl; stir in the butter until it melts. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cold, 2 hours. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours ahead.)

Spoon the lemon filling into the pie shell, smoothing the top. Bake in a 325°F (160°C) oven until the filling loses some shine and forms a thin skin, about 12 minutes. Let cool on a rack; then refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

To make the toping, microwave the apple jelly on high for 30 seconds in a small glass bowl, or heat in a saucepan on the stovetop until melted. Spoon evenly over the filling. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. (The tart can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, covered with a large inverted bowl.) Garnish the centre with fruit or dust the edge of the pastry and a narrow border of filling with icing sugar. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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