Melissa's tart

Melissa's tart

Crostata di melissa

By
From
The Italian Baker
Serves
8-10

This is a summery alternative to a lemon tart, perfect for a picnic or for tea in the garden. The lemon balm adds a sophisticated aroma as well as bringing other benefits to the mind and body. In Italian, it is called melissa, so it was just natural for me to try baking with it. Such a pleasant discovery!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the pastry

Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
150g butter, chilled and diced, plus a little extra, softened, for greasing
120g caster sugar
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
pinch salt
1 leomon, grated zested

For the lemon balm custard filling

Quantity Ingredient
250ml double cream
250ml milk
20-30 fresh lemon balm leaves
1 lemon, grated zested
8 egg yolks
100g caster sugar

Method

  1. Heap the flour in a mound on the work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the diced butter to the well and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until it reaches a crumble consistency. Make a well in the middle again and add the sugar, eggs plus yolk, salt and lemon zest. Work the dough as briefly as possible until all the ingredients are incorporated and form a dough. Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or better still overnight.
  2. Butter a 20-cm tart tin with a removable base. Roll out the chilled pastry into a circle about 2.5cm thick. Place it over the tart tin and press the sides and base gently into the tin. Trim off any excess pastry. Prick the base in a few places with a fork and chill the pastry case in the fridge.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the custard. Put the cream, milk, lemon balm leaves and lemon zest in a saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Take off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl and using electric hand-held beaters, then pour in the warm milky mixture and continue to beat on a slow speed until blended. Strain the custard through a fine sieve and discard the leaves. Set aside.
  5. Line the pastry case with foil or baking parchment and fill with ceramic or dried beans. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then take out of the oven and remove the foil or paper and the beans. Bake the pastry case for a further 10 minutes, then pour in the custard and bake for 20 minutes or until set.
  6. Leave the tart to cool in the tin before removing to a plate to serve, at room temperature or cold.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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