The list of things I can never walk past is long (and mostly food-related), and right at the very top is an unwaxed lemon. I adore lemons and have been judicious over many years never to be without them - a little squeeze of their bright yellow cheeks - their juice seems to find its way into almost everything we eat at home. They have brought life to many a vegetable risotto; been popped as delicately as possible up more roast chickens than I care to think about; entirely replaced artificial pectin in countless jars of jam; given my saltimbocca a little extra "jump"; been added to rillettes and hollandaise and fruit salad and biscotti and so much more...
Imagining avocado without lemon is completely unthinkable; and as long as there is a bowl full of lemons in the house, I can always, always pull together a wonderful lemon tart. They won't keep as long as their waxed counterparts, but when using the zest as in the recipe below, unwaxed fruit is essential though sometimes a little more of a challenge to find - hence why I can never walk past unwaxed lemons, or "de cecco" pasta - but that's another story!
Tarte au Citron
1 quantity shortcrust pastry
6 large free-range eggs
280g caster sugar
300ml lemon juice (about 4-5 large lemons)
Zest of 4 large unwaxed lemons
190g crème fraiche
Grease and line 22cm tart tin with pastry. Allow to rest in the fridge for one to two hours before lining with foil and filling with pie weights. Heat oven to 160C/300F. Place the tart tin on a large baking tray and blind-bake till the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes, removing the weights in the last five minutes.
While the pastry is blind-baking whisk together the filling ingredients and allow them to rest for about 30 minutes before skimming off any froth and scum. Heat the filling in a medium heavy-based saucepan over a low heat until it reaches 70C being careful not to let it thicken. Strain into a jug.
Carefully pull out the tray with the tart shell and pour the filling into the baked tart shell without removing it from the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, until barely set (it will continue to cook as it cools).
Allow to cool completely before cutting. Serve with icing sugar, raspberries and extra crème fraiche if you wish.