Gluten-Free Lemon Tart
Tarte au Citron, or Lemon tart to us plebs, is a French classic that’s surprisingly easy to make, yet definitely hard to beat.
A note on Tart Pastry:
I find tart pastry difficult to handle at the best of times; this gluten-free recipe isn’t any easier. The good news is that tart pastry is highly malleable and presses back together easily, so if it falls apart on you (almost bound to happen), just patch the pieces back together in the tart tin. It’s kind of like playing with play-dough all over again!
**Update** I’ve corrected a couple of errors in the pastry recipe, sorry: slight change to the amount of butter, plus I neglected to specify to use only the egg yolk. I hope I haven’t contributed to too many kitchen disasters!
What do I need?
- 1 cup fine rice flour
- 1/2 cup maize corn flour*
- 1/2 cup soy flour†
- 1 tsp guar or xanthan gum
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2/3 cup butter, chilled and diced
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Some cold water
- 1/4 cup of ground almonds makes an interesting variation
Lemon Curd Filling
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Grated rind and juice of four lemons
- Icing sugar for dusting††
What do I do?
Sift the flours and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar, and the ground almond if you’re using it. Then add the egg yolk, vanilla essence, and a couple of teaspoons of cold water and mix the dough until the dough starts to come together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape it into a ball.
Or you can be lazy and do the whole thing with a quick whiz of the food processor.
Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour. Use the time to make the lemon filling!
Roll the pastry out into a large circle on a lightly floured surface until it’s large enough to line your tart tin. Do your best to pick the pastry up (see my shortcrust recipe page for tips on how to do this); slide a palette knife or egg lift under it first, as it tends to stick to the bench.
Line the tart tin with the pastry, trimming the edge and pinching the pastry up a little to make a slightly raised border around the rim.
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Rest the pastry case in the fridge again for another 10 minutes.
To bake the case blind, line it with greaseproof paper, or maybe foil, then fill it with rice, dried beans, or baking beads if you’ve actually bothered getting them. I have a container of rice in the pantry that’s especially put aside for baking blind. God knows how long it’s been there now, but it’s still doing the job fine!
Bake the case blind for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 180°C/350°F. Remove the rice, beans or beads from the pastry case.
Lemon Curd Filling
Beat the eggs, and put them in a pan with the sugar and butter. Stir continuously over low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the lemon juice and rind, and continue to heat the mixture over low heat. Keep stirring the mixture continuously, until the lemon curd has thickened slightly.
Pour the lemon curd into the blind baked pastry case, and bake for another 20 minutes, until the curd has just set.
Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool.
Dust it with the icing sugar just before serving. Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche, or even better, some incredible King Island Vanilla Bean yoghurt (seriously – this stuff is amazing! It’s more like whipped cream than yoghurt).
* Make sure it is proper maize cornflour, not “cornflour” that is actually finely ground wheat flour – check the ingredients.
† Remember that unless you buy debittered soy flour, it’s going to taste pretty nasty until it’s baked – No licking the spoon!
†† Make sure it’s pure icing sure, not an icing sugar/flour mix.