“For this recipe I’ve used rough puff (or bastard puff as it used to be called in the London kitchens I worked in), but I also make these pies using any puff pastry scraps I have lying around – never throw them away,” says Wise. “Meyer lemons are cracking for this, but any thin-skinned lemons will do. This method of making a lemon tart is so easy, I would never bother to make lemon curd at home again.” Let the pies cool a little before eating them, if you can wait that long. You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 4 lemons, halved widthways, seeds removed
- 280 gm white sugar, plus extra for scattering
- 5 eggs
- 300 gm plain flour (2 cups)
- 170 ml milk
- 150 gm chilled butter, diced to pea size
- 1Place lemon halves in the freezer until firm (30 minutes), then slice as thinly as possible on a mandolin. Combine in a bowl with sugar, then stand at room temperature overnight.
- 2Meanwhile, for rough puff, combine ingredients and 1 tsp fine sea salt in a bowl and mix to form a rough dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 15cm x 35cm rectangle. Fold one short side in to centre, fold opposite side in to meet it, then fold in half to form a book fold. Turn pastry 90 degrees, repeat rolling and folding, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Repeat rolling, folding and resting twice more and refrigerate until required.
- 3Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick. Line four 11cm-diameter, 3cm-deep pie tins, allowing edges to overhang by 5mm, and refrigerate until required. Roll out pastry scraps to 3mm thick, cut out four 12cm-diameter rounds and refrigerate until required.
- 4Preheat oven to 180C. Whisk 4 eggs and a pinch of salt in a large bowl, stir in lemon mixture, then divide among pie tins, distributing lemons and liquid evenly among tins (there may be a little mixture left over). Whisk remaining egg, brush a little over edges of pastry, top each pie with a pastry round, press edges to seal and crimp, then refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Brush tops with remaining egg, scatter generously with sugar and bake until dark golden (20-25 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of .