¾ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice (this will be about 3 to 4 lemons’ worth)
grated zest of 2 lemons
½ cup heavy cream
puff pastry, purchased from the frozen food section at any supermarket
Take out a sheet (one square) of puff pastry and thaw. Roll it out ever so slightly and cut a 10 inch circle so that it fits in your tart tin with pastry just coming up the sides. Then, prick the surface of the pastry with a fork. Place a circle of wax or parchment paper over the surface (so that it generously comes up the sides) and fill the tart with rice or dried beans to weigh it down. Bake for 10 minutes until just golden. Remove the paper and rice (or beans), and there you have your pastry case ready.
Alternatively, make your own sweet pastry! I like this better than the puff pastry (so much better), but it really depends on your mood and time. Here is my favorite recipe:
Cream together 1 cup + 2 T. butter, 1 cup + 6 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar, a pinch of salt (with your fingertips or by pulsing in the processor.) Either run or pulse in 3 and ¼ cup flour and the zest of a lemon or orange, if you have one around. Add 4 egg yolks. When the mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add enough cold water for it to draw together – like 2-4 tbsp, max. Work quickly and minimally! Divide the dough (into 2), wrap in cling film and flatten it with the heel of your hand and set in the fridge to rest for at least an hour.
Then you are ready to roll out the dough in between cling film until it reaches the size you need. Prick with a fork and pop in the freezer. If you are making little tartlettes, don’t worry about pre-baking: they go so fast. Simply roll out the pastry and line the little muffin molds.
To make the filling, whisk the eggs and the sugar until the sugar just dissolves. Still whisking, add the lemon juice, zest and cream. Leave for 5 minutes, then skim off the froth (so you get a smooth tart!). Ladle three quarters of the lemon mixture into the pastry case, then place in the oven and spoon in the rest. Bake only until the tart or tartlettes are just set. You want to bake the tart for 15 minutes, until the tart is only just set.
Start checking after 10 minutes since it is quite critical not to overcook the tart, since, if you do, the lemon custard will split as it cools and you will have to make do with a tart which looks as thought it has recently undergone a minor earth tremor.
Cool or serve warm!