This gin and lemon tart is a firm favourite at our summer gin dinners and consistently one of our top rated dishes (check here for upcoming experiences). We created this recipe using award-winning 1919 pineapple gin and also serve it on the rocks as our matching dessert drink. It tastes like summer in a glass.
At first glance tarts can look complicated but once you have made this once you’ll be hooked, it’s easier than you think. We’ve also put some tips and tricks below to make this dessert quick smart. It can even be completely made in advance so all you need to do is bring it to the table with a ta-da.
For the pastry case;
2 cups of plain flour
3 tbsp caster sugar
150g of cold butter, cubed
2-3 tbsp iced water
For the filling;
2 lemons, zest plus juice
150ml of cream
175g caster sugar
4 large eggs
4 tbsp 1919 pineapple bits gin
For the glaze (optional);
4 tbsp 1919 pineapple bits gin
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp cornflour
Lemon thyme leaves, lemon zest or dehydrated lemon slices to decorate
You will need a 25cm fluted tart tin, food processor and your oven preheated to 180oC (350F) with a baking sheet ready on the rack. Cooking your pastry on a preheated baking sheet is one of our top tips for preventing a soggy bottom on your pastry base.
To make the pastry case;
The key to great pastry is keeping the butter fridge-y cold right up until it goes into the oven. Butter is made up of milk solids and water and when the cold butter goes into a hot oven the water evaporates quickly, helping to create a good, short pastry and preventing the water from absorbing into the flour.
I go so far as to measure and cube my butter and then put it back in the fridge or a few minutes in the freezer so it’s really cold.
Put the flour, sugar and fridge cold butter in a food processor and mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the processor still running, add enough of the iced water for the dough to start coming together into a lump. Tip your dough onto a bench and knead lightly. Keading your dough a lot will warm it and also release more gluten making the pastry tougher.
Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After your dough has rested for 30 minutes roll it out between two sheets of baking paper. This makes it super easy to pick up the dough, just peel off the top sheet, slide your hand under the bottom to pick up then tip over the top of your tart tin. Peel off the last sheet of baking paper and use your knuckles to ease the pastry into the corners of your tart tin. Run a knife around the edges to cut off any excess.
Place one of the sheets of baking paper back over the pastry and fill it with baking weights, rice or similar. I use chickpeas and keep them in a labelled container for reuse, much cheaper than buying weights.
Bake for 10 minutes then gingerly lift off the weights by gathering together the edges of the baking sheet and lifting it up. Pop the pastry back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until it is golden. While this is baking make your filling.
When your pastry comes out of the oven brush it immediately with egg white. Blind baking and an egg white wash are two more tips to avoid a soggy pastry bottom.
To make the filling;
Zest both lemons and add this along with their juice into a mixing bowl or large jug. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well.
Once the case has finished blind baking and you have brushed over the egg white pour the lemon filling into the pastry case and bake for 24-35 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
To make the glaze;
Remove the tart from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Zest the lemon and set aside.
Squeeze your lemon and strain the juice into a small pot with the icing sugar and cornflour. Heat gently, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze has thickened a little. Remove from the heat and stir in the gin.
Pour your glaze over the tart then holding the serving plate tilt and roll the tart very slowly and gently until the glaze covers the whole tart. Decorate with lemon zest or slices and a few thyme leaves if you are feeling chef-y.
We have lots of tips and alternatives to mark this tart super easy and fast.
- We created this recipe with 1919 pineapple bits gin because we love the flavour but you swap this for just about any gin. You can also leave the gin out altogether if you are feeding kids or those who are alcohol free (the alcohol does not burn off).
- We also love this tart with limoncello instead of gin. Our absolute favourite is this award winning-limoncello made in New Zealand with Kerikeri lemons.
- I sometimes make this tart for a mid-week family dinner and often leave off the glaze. I like the rustic look especially in winter.
- Speed up your cooking time on the night by making your raw pastry up to 3 days in advance and keeping well wrapped in the fridge. You may need to stand it at room temperature for a little until it has softened just enough to roll.
- You can take this a step further and pre cook the tart case so all you need to do on the day is make the filling, pour in and cook. Or make the whole tart 1-2 days in advance and store at room temperature in a very airtight container.
- Finally you can buy pre-made sweet shortcrust pastry to roll and bake or even a premade pastry case. If all you need to do is mix the filling and bake you can have this delicious tart made in just 10 minutes and bake it while you eat dinner. How smart!