This is a tart to rival a patisserie bought one. In our cooking courses in Italy we show you just how the pastry should be rolled out: quickly, gently but firmly. It takes some practise, but is well worth mastering. Delicious with soft fruit such as raspberries.
- 300 g (2 1⁄2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 150 g (3/5 cups) butter
- 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- Zest of 1 untreated lemon
- 125 g (5/8 cup) sugar
- 500 ml (1 pint) milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons of corn starch
- 1 fresh vanilla pod
- 250 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream
- Fruit to cover (that will not go black) e.g. strawberries, kiwi, figs, raspberries etc.
- Line an ovenproof tart dish with baking paper.
- On a wooden work surface, mix together the flour, sugar and butter, cut into little pieces. Rub the butter into the flour and sugar, until it is completely worked in. Work lightly so that the butter does not melt.
- Make a mound out of this mixture and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs yolks and lemon zest (careful not to grate the bitter pith in too!)
- Work the ingredients together, first with a fork, then with your hands, until you have a smooth, soft pastry dough.
- Wrap the pastry dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes (ideally 2 hours, especially in warm weather).
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
- When the pastry has rested in the refrigerator, roll out to the size of the tart dish, cover with more baking paper and weigh down with dry beans, rice, or another, smaller, baking dish. This will prevent the pastry rising. You should try and achieve a 1 cm (half-inch) thickness. If you have pastry left over, use to make delicious cookies!
- Bake at 160°C/320°F for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Remove the beans etc and baking paper and allow to cool.
- Split open the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil gently.
- In a large bowl, vigorously beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the result is light in colour and frothy.
- Add the flour and beat well.
- Add the milk gradually, (remove the vanilla pod, scraping the seeds back into the milk) beating constantly with a whisk.
- Slowly reheat, stirring constantly only in one direction until quite thick. The custard will thicken even more once it cools. Allow to cool, covering with clingfilm/saran wrap to avoid a skin forming.
- Fold whipped cream into the cooled custard. Fill the base with this and decorate with fruit.
- This pie is best enjoyed at room temperature soon after it has been made, i.e. not refrigerated.