For years a well-kept secret, Cornwall’s Hidden Hut overlooking Porthcurnick Beach has become a cult dining destination. This caramelised lemon tart with lavender is the second recipe we’ve featured from founder and chef Simon Stallard (if you missed his orange cardamon cake, you can find it here), and we really can’t think of a better treat for a warm summer’s evening.
Everyone loves a lemon tart, and this one is made even more special by using a toasted hazelnut pastry, a caramelised brûléed top and finished with a sprinkling of edible lavender flowers.
FOR THE PASTRY
- 25g hazelnuts
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 110g chilled butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
FOR THE FILLING
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 125g caster sugar
- 150ml double cream
- Juice of 4 lemons and the zest of 3
- icing sugar, for dusting
- dried edible flowers, plus extra sprigs, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan oven)/ gas mark 5. Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and cook in the oven for 7–10 minutes until the skins have darkened and the nuts are golden underneath. Turn off the oven. Rub the nuts between tow clean tea towels to loosen the skins. Pick the hazelnuts out from the skins. Leave to cool, then grind them to a powder in a food processor.
- To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and blend until you get a breadcrumb texture. (Alternatively, rub the flour and butter together using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs). Stir in the ground hazelnuts and enough of the egg to make a smooth dough. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is large enough to line a 23cm round tart tin. Lay the pastry over the tin and press it into the edges and up the side, then prick the base all over with a fork, trim the edges and chill in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven again to 190°C (170°C fan oven)/ gas mark 5. Line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and add enough baking beans to cover the base. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and return the pastry case to the oven to bake for another 10–15 minutes, until light golden.
- Meanwhile, to make the filling, put the eggs in a bowl and add the sugar. Beat using an electric beater until the mixture leaves a thin ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted. Stir in the cream and lemon juice. Strain the mixture into a jug and stir in the lemon zest.
- Turn the oven temperature down to 170°C (150°C fan oven)/gas mark 3 ½. Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for 30–35 minutes, until the filling is set but is still a bit wobbly. Dust the top of the tart with a layer of icing sugar and, with a kitchen blowtorch or a preheated grill, brown the top until the sugar melts and caramelises. Scatter a few lavender flowers over the top and decorate with a sprig or two of lavender. Serve warm or cold.
The Hidden Hut by Simon Stallard is published by Harper Collins, £20.
Images by Susan Bell