Prolific cook and author Maggie Beer has just released her 11th cookbook, again highlighting her philosophy of using the freshest and best seasonal produce available in the Barossa Valley and allowing the natural flavours to speak for themselves.
Maggie Beer’s Winter Harvest Recipes is the first in a series of four seasonal paperbacks bringing together all her signature recipes from Maggie’s Harvest, including detailed descriptions of seasonal ingredients, photographs by Mark Chew of the finished dishes, and inspiring accounts of memorable meals with family and friends.
Here, Beer shares her recipe for Lemon Tart, a favourite treat that takes advantage of the abundance of fresh lemons at this time of year.
“For freshness at the end of a meal, this tart, inspired by Sydney chef Tony Bilson’s recipe, never fails to delight,” she writes.
“I bake it in a deep-sided quiche tin. This tart deserves a little practice to get the texture of the filling just right, as so many factors can influence the set. The first time you make it, start well in advance so that you can refrigerate the tart for an hour or so if the filling does not set. This is pretty delicious served with clotted cream.”
For the pastry
“This recipe makes a very short, flaky pastry with a light, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It is a great all-rounder and can be used in a whole variety of dishes, both sweet and savoury. It’s the pastry I make ninety-nine times out of a hundred because it’s not only so good but so easy. I like to chill the pastry case in the freezer, as this ensures it is really well-chilled before it goes in the oven.”
200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
250g plain flour
½ cup (125ml) sour cream
Put the butter and flour into the bowl of a food processor, then pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and pulse again until the dough just forms a ball. Carefully wrap the dough in plastic film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.
Roll out the dough until it is 5mm thick, then use it to line a 20cm tart tin with a removable base. Chill the pastry case for 20 minutes.
For the tart
1 × quantity sour-cream pastry
150g castor sugar
9 egg yolks (from large, fresh free-range eggs)
1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice
grated rind of 1 lemon
icing sugar (optional), to serve
Make and chill the pastry as instructed. Roll out the chilled dough and use to line a 20cm flan tin with a removable base. Chill the pastry case for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the chilled pastry case with foil and pastry weights and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. Meanwhile, beat the sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and rind until smooth, then fold in the cream. Fill the warm pastry case with the lemon mixture, taking care not to overfill it. Bake until the filling is set around the edges but still wobbly in the middle (this will take anywhere from 25–45 minutes, depending on your oven).
Remove the tart from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature to allow the filling to set completely – it should be the consistency of a very ripe brie, yet firm enough to cut into portions. Refrigerate for an hour or so if necessary to help set the filling.
Serve dusted with icing sugar.
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