Tarte au citron is one of my all time favourite pastries/puddings. I find zingy lemon the perfect refreshing taste after a meal, and it has to be the epitome of a spring time dessert with an elegance surpassed by few other pastries. I’ve been thinking of how to make a friendly version for a while, but most of my research has come across versions using lemon curd (not authentic), turmeric for colour (I find the taste overpowering) or agar for set (too jelly like). Somehow I needed to find a way of making the filling an appealing yellow colour with a good set. As I say, lots of vegan recipes seem to use turmeric for colour but I find even the tiniest bit give a musty spicy taste that I’m not looking for when I make a sweet pastry. I could have used food colouring but somehow that seemed wrong too.
Then it came to me, what about Birds custard powder (ingredients: cornflour, salt, colour (annatto), flavouring)? It’s always beautifully yellow and seems to set pretty well. The results were excellent – colour was perfectly yellow and the set was nice and firm. I decided to use water on this occasion, but maybe next time I’ll use dairy-free milk to give the filling more richness and for more authenticity as the appearance of a traditional tarte au citron is a bit more creamy than this version
Tarte au Citron (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
makes 1 tart
- Short crust pastry, I used Jus-rol for convenience
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup custard powder
- 1 cup water
– Line and bake blind a shallow tart tin, cool. Find instructions for a great shortcrust (sub dairy-free spread for the butter) and to blind bake here.
– Place the zest, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar
– Mix the custard powder with a couple of tbsps water to form a smooth paste.
– Add the custard mix and the water to the lemon juice mixture.
– Heat gently, stirring now and then until it starts to thicken. When the consistency is similar to yogurt (gloopy but still a bit runny) pour into the tart shell.
– Leave to set in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.