Tarte Au Citron

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of the Great British Bake Off even though none of the recipes followed are vegan and cruelty-free. I enjoyed seeing the participants going through very stressful tasks and give birth to creations that were astonishingly pretty to look, at least and put their best efforts in their dishes. One of the signature bakes they had to go through was the famous Tarte Au Citron by Mary Berry that I couldn’t possibly resist the idea of so I researched a bit and decided to veganise it.

With regards to the pastry, her original recipe calls for an egg yolk and a tbsp of water to be added to flour, icing sugar and butter. However, I found that by using vegan margarine, icing sugar and flour you don’t need to add anything else, no extra liquids since the margarine is already very moist as it has a much higher water content than butter which is mostly fat. This is the best pastry I have ever made, not only it was super thin and crispy but also consistency-wise.

Another note I would like to add is that I have never baked my pastry case blind and never had a “soggy bottom” as they call it. I was super impressed with this one especially as it baked evenly and stayed crisp even after cooling overnight. Initially I was rather afraid that the filling wouldn’t set as it was quite liquid, so I let it bake longer which resulted in in a slight ridge of filling caramelising on top of the pastry. Once cooled down completely (overnight is even better) the filling firmed up just right, so that it is still very creamy but not runny therefore I don’t think there is the need to overbake or worry about it. I will nonetheless try making it again and ensure that what I have written is correct. There are also a few cracks, but apart from these minor cosmetic faults, I have to say this was the best tart I have ever made.

Ingredients

For the pastry:
175g plain flour
100g soya margarine
25g icing sugar

For the filling:
325g silken tofu (I used the Nigari Mori-nu: this)
225g caster sugar
125ml soya cream
the juice and zest of 4 UNWAXED lemons
2 tbsp cornflour to help it set
1/4 tsp turmeric to give it a beautiful golden colour

Directions
1. make the pastry by sifting flour and icing sugar in a large bowl
2. add the margarine and mash it down with the help of a fork
3. then work it with one hand until all the margarine has been incorporated nicely and you have a shiny ball of dough
4. wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 mins while you prepare the filling
5. zest the lemons in a plate
6. then juice them in a bowl or juicer and add this to a jug where you will be liquidising the tofu
7. add the tofu, cream, sugar, turmeric and cornflour
8. liquidise until very smooth and then add the lemon zest
9. get your pastry out of the fridge and dust a clean surface with some white flour (rub some flour on the bottom of the pastry ball
10. then spread some more flour on the top and start pressing it out with a rolling pin. make sure you keep dusting it with a bit of flour to avoid the pastry sticking to the pin
11. once you have reached the shape you need for your tin, check it is a little bigger than its perimeter
12. to transfer the pastry without breaking it, here is a useful tip: dust its top with flour, then fold in two, then dust again and fold again. you can then easily place it in the tin and unfold it (my tin is 25 centimetres wide. I had a bit of pastry left over but the filling was used all)
14. press down the edges around the base of the tin and the sides gently, then trim off the excess pastry with a knife
15. prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork to give it some ventilation and stop it from rising
16. pour in your filling and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/gas mark 4 for about 40/45 minutes
17. make sure you keep checking it and if you notice that the filling starts bubbling, reduce the temperature of the oven to avoid it spilling over on the edges of the pastry

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