Over the summer I became obsessed with working out how to make tarte au citron without butter or cream. It seemed like an impossible idea, so I wandered off down the side street of meringue pie for a while. And while it was a tasty side street, it wasn’t the full lemony goodness I craved. So I looked around for recipes and I thought about substitutes and eventually I got this. Which was eaten in about 2 days flat at any excuse going. Next time I’m doing a fancy tea (so when my kids are teens) I’m going to wheel this out. It was lemony, sharp, smooth and oh so good cold from the fridge.
I decided early on that I wouldn’t use marg in the filling as this would be an occasion where the taste would be wrong. Which lead me to the Guardian’s Food Blog and a non baked version. I made the pastry exactly as in the final recipe and I found it fiddly and difficult to work with, so would be inclined to try another sweet pastry recipe. But 18saughtonmains loved it and said it was the nicest pastry he’d had in a long time, so clearly this is somewhere reasonable people can disagree.
For the filling, as you can see, he adds butter but several other recipes I found either also added cream or just added cream, so I decided to try soy cream and it worked. I’ve been dubious about using soy cream for anything other than pouring because the milk curdles so easily but actually, I’ve now made several things with the cream and it works great.
Tarte au citron
Make your favourite sweet pastry and bake as usual.
4 unwaxed lemons
275g caster sugar
1 tub of soy cream
Zest the lemons into a pyrex bowl, add the sugar and mix. Add the lemon juice and beaten eggs and stir. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water – the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Stir the mixture for a good 20 minutes. I use a timer because otherwise I tend to get impatient. The mixture will eventually thicken. Take it off the heat, let it cool for 10 minutes, add the cream, stir until it is smooth. Then pour the filling into the shell and cool in the fridge.