As we start to feel the tightening of winter’s grip here in the northern hemisphere I thought it would be a good time to think back to the heat of a September day here in Spain. A few moments of speculative thinking taking me back to warmer days and people sat out in the street enjoying the weather and the company of fellow residents.
January is when I normally make the Lemon Tart that is the topic of this week’s post, it is also the sweet I made on the last “Día de la Vaca”. Here in the town of Cosuenda “El Día de la Vaca”, or “Day of the Cow” is an annual event that normally takes place a week after the Fiestas in September.
On the “Día de la Vaca” they close off the main street and set up tables for a meal and get-together for the whole town. Traditionally, for the “Day of the Cow”, they would probably have sacrificed one to feed the whole town. Modern times have brought with them a more modern version. Here the meal tends to start off with an excellent consommé made by the locals in a large cauldron over an open fire. The main course tends to be contracted out and is often a beef stew. In spite of it being contracted out it is made in situ over and open fire. As with the consommé it is cooked over an open fire in a humongous pan, a pan big enough to serve upwards of 150 people!
The villages tend to bring along some home-made nibbles whilst they wait for the consommé to be served and sweet tarts and pies for dessert.
Great company, great food, free-flowing wine and a good shade from the overhanging trees….. what more could one want on a lazy sunny morning in September?
So back to this lemon tart……. as I have already said I tend to make it round about now. As this is a good time of year to get fresh lemons I tend to make my own Limoncello round about now. This drink only uses the peel of the lemons. I found myself therefore with lots of unused lemon juice, and invented this recipe to use them up.
This recipe will give you a tart lemon tart, i.e. it has a sharp flavour which I love as it cleans the palate after a big meal. If you are looking for something a little sweeter just increase the amount of sugar in the recipe.
Although the recipe explains how to make the pastry, you can of course buy a ready made pastry case.
Makes 1 20cm diameter tart.
1 Pinch Salt
1 Egg Yolk
140ml Lemon Juice
To make the pastry rub together the dry ingredients with the butter. Just rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg yolk then mix in together with enough cold water to make a dough. Use a knife cutting across the mixture to mix in the yolk and water. Once it starts to stick together knead a little by hand until the mixture forms a ball of dough.
Wrap in cling-film and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Roll out the pastry to line a 20cm diameter pie tin. Prick the bottom and line with parchment and baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes then for a further 5 minutes without the parchment and beans.
Beat together the filling ingredients. Pour into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes at 180ºC.
This tart can be frozen although it is at its best when freshly baked.
Well I hope you like this first post of 2016. As usual please feel free to leave comments, I am always interested in knowing how you find my recipes. The more feedback I get the better I can make the blog.
Given that this is the first post for 2016, let me wish you all a great 2016 and that the year fulfils all you expectations. There is much injustice in the World, quite often brought on by greed. I unfortunately don’t expect miracles, although one or two would be nice but I can hope that in this coming year conditions do improve for all those that are feeling the brunt of war, hunger or persecution…….. Will we ever have a global “Día de la Vaca” when “neighbours” can sit down together, in friendship enjoying a quiet meal under a benevolent summer sun?
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge