Recipe: Classic French Lemon Tart

2014-08-14 12:00

Marita van der Vyver is one of South Africa’s most popular and versatile writers.

She has lived in France with her family for 15 years and her latest cookbook, Winter Food in Provence, is a wonderfully photographed compilation of hearty, warming, Provençal food that’s easy to make, even if you don’t live in France.

Our favourite is this simple classic lemon tart.



.?250g flour

.?A pinch of salt

.?125g butter

.?1 egg yolk


.?75g sugar

.?Finely grated zest and juice of 3?lemons

.?2?eggs and 1?egg white (use the yolk for the pastry)

.?75ml crème fraîche

.?125g ground almonds

.?Pinch of cinnamon


.?2 more lemons, cut into very thin slices

.?125g sugar

Method Start with the pastry by combining the flour and salt in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Stir in the egg yolk along with two to three teaspoons of iced water (just enough to form a soft, nonsticky dough).

Chill the dough for half an hour in the fridge. In the meantime, make the filling by mixing the sugar, lemon zest and juice in another bowl. Add the eggs and egg white and beat well.

Add the crème fraîche, ground almonds and cinnamon, and stir to form a thick, smooth mixture. Roll out the dough on a surface sprinkled with flour and place it in a tart pan lined with baking paper.

Prick a few holes in the dough with a fork and spoon in the filling. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 190°C, until the filling is set and golden.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

For the syrup, place the lemon slices in a saucepan, add enough water to cover and simmer over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the skins are soft.

Remove and drain well.

Reserve about 75ml of the water in the saucepan, add the sugar and cook over low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to bring the syrup to the boil.

Add the lemon and cook rapidly until all the slices are covered with the thick syrup. Remove the lemon and arrange in a pattern on the tart. Serves six to eight people.

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