After six seasons of watching the Great British Baking Show I have grown very enamored of Mary Berry. I finally broke down and bought one of her books. Actually I bought two of them. They are lovely books filled with many of those classic British cake recipes that I see on the show and always want to try. I was a bit disappointed to find that many of the same recipes are in both books with only slight variations and sometimes none at all but I guess that is to be expected. The instructions are rather sparse so even though the books say they are for beginners to advanced bakers you really do have to know a bit about baking or you could be lost in some recipes. Mary will state beat ingredients together but there is not explanation as to whether they should be thick, pale, frothy etc so you do have to know what you are looking for or you could make mistakes. That being said I am delighted with both books
This recipe is actually called Glazed Lemon Tart but I modified it to use Meyer Lemons since I was lucky enough to find some this week. Growing up in Ohio I lived under the delusion that everyone in California had citrus trees in their yards. When I moved here in 1979 I still believed that and was rather surprised that it certainly wasn’t the case. Once I was settled in here I started hearing about Meyer Lemons and how they were so sweet and delicious but I could never find them anywhere. I asked the produce man at the local market and he said that no one carried them because everyone had them in their yard. Yet another fallacy that I believed for years. In all the years that I have lived here I have never met a single person who has a Meyer Lemon Tree in their yard. When we had our house and redid the landscaping I planted Meyer lemons, regular lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits. I loved having all the citrus available all year but once again ,we were the only ones in the neighborhood with citrus. Now that we have moved to a condo I certainly miss all my citrus trees and while most citrus is available all year, the Meyer lemon is still elusive. Even the farmers markets never seem to have them. Imagine my delight when I found them at the market yesterday and knew that I had to make a tart with them.
This recipe was a bit different from most citrus tarts I have seen in that the filling uses ground almonds, sugar, cream, lemon rind and juice as opposed to the usual curd style fillings I am used to. The crust is just a standard pate sucree that you would expect but Mary’s recipe uses two egg yolks vice the usual one that I am used to. It is a lovely, crispy not too sweet crust.
There is also a nice finish for the decoration. Mary recommends a slightly thicker simple syrup, the thin lemon slices are dropped into the boiling syrup, removed from the heat and left to soak for about 2 hours. The result is nice shiny slices. I have seen these on the show but didn’t know how they were done and when I tried my usual method for candied fruit they came out thick and hard. A nice trick this.