The pastry here is from the California chef Lindsey Shere and it’s wonderful – thin and buttery and almost biscuity. You make it in a slightly different way, creaming the butter and sugar for it and then smearing it little by little with the heel of your hand (the French term is ‘fraisage’) once the flour has been added. There are good how-to videos online for the pastry method.
Do follow the chilling times and only add the amount of blueberries given here, otherwise they’ll bleed too much.
Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons, plus 165ml lemon juice
150g caster sugar
80g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
For the pastry, cream together the butter and sugar – it’s best to use a handheld mixer as the quantity is small – for 2 minutes. Measure out 2½ tbsp of the beaten egg (discard the rest) and add it along with the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Mix again, with the mixer on a slow speed, then add the flour all at once and blend briefly (just until the flour is no longer visible). Turn the dough out on to a work surface. Mix it together by pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your hand for just a couple of minutes. Gather it all together, flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, put the yolks, lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter into a glass or ceramic bowl. Set this over a pan of gently simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, cook until the mixture will coat the back of a spoon (drag your index finger through it – it should leave a channel).
Don’t cook the filling until it is very thick – you’re not making lemon curd for toast – the filling will be cooked later. Scrape the filling into a clean bowl, cover with cling film – pressing the cling film on to the surface of the mixture – and chill for a few hours.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 23cm tart tin with a removeable base (this does fill this size of tin but you have only a very tiny bit left over – if it breaks, just patch it up). Put into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C/180C fan*/Gas 5.
Fill the tart case with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake for 12 minutes then gently remove the beans and paper. Turn the oven down to 175C/165C fan*/Gas 4. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and let the tart case cool, but leave the oven on.
Spread the lemon filling into the tart case. Sprinkle the berries on top and very gently press them into the filling. Bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes, then leave to cool.
*Diana’s conversions may differ slightly from the standard
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