I am always an enthusiastic food experimenter, but my adversity to adhering to recipes often provides a bit of a problem, especially when baking and patisserie making. Namely it’s my lack of commitment to scales … I seem to favour of the ‘pinch and pray’ method (take a handful of flour, throw it in and hope for the best). It’s unpredictable, a bit like Russian Roulette. You never know what you are gonna get, but every now and then you surprise yourself and something sublime emerges.
This is exactly how this tart began…
A few weeks ago during a rootle around my freezer for some sweet pastry, I stumbled across a batch of lemon shortbread dough, made circa 2012. Looking for a use, I ended up trying it out as a pastry base for a lemon and vanilla meringue pie. The result was a bit of a crisis. Even though I ensured I'd incorporated extra flour into the cookie dough, the fat to flour ratio was too high, which meant the majority of the pudding ended up as crumble, or shared with the bottom of my oven.
That aside, the taste was great, with the full lemon on lemon, from the pastry and filling. So last week when I made it again I followed the recipe… (gasp) of my foolproof sweet pastry, to remake this beauty with the addition of a zingy lemon and vanilla bean custard filling, topped with my favourite nuts for colour and a bit of texture.
I’m pretty confident this version is better than anything M&S are gonna churn out any time soon.