Move over, Nigella, I’ve already declared my new baking goddess to be our own Aussie Belinda Jeffery, and in trying yet another recipe from this book, she hasn’t let me down!
I’ve explained before that my sister is a lemon/citrus freak, and absolutely adores my lemon tart. While I enjoy making it for her, the overnight resting and general fiddliness of the recipe means that I don’t make it for her very often, so I have been on the lookout for something which would pack a puckery lemon punch without the prep time. When I saw these golden lemon slices, topped with waxy jade pistachio pieces in Belinda Jeffery’s “Mix & Bake“, I knew that I had to give them a go. And since my sister is currently stressing in the throes of exam preparations, what better way to bring her some comfort than with a tasty treat?
I didn’t have the correct size tin for baking these, but no matter, they still turned out marvellously! Delicious shortbread-like base topped by meltingly soft slightly puckery lemon, with a thin layer of meringue crowned by pistachios.
If you’re a lemon slice fan, I guarantee these will rock your casbah if you give ‘em a shot
Luscious Lemon Slice
(From “Mix & Bake” by Belinda Jeffery)
225g all-purpose flour
80g pure icing sugar, sifted
180g cold unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp iced water
Lemon Topping Ingredients
6 large eggs
600g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
250mL freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Icing sugar, chopped pistachios or fresh berries and cream to serve
Much of the fruit sold in supermarkets tends to have waxed skins, particularly citrus, so you should be careful to source your citrus from organic supermarkets or friendly neighbours/workmates whenever possible, especially if a recipe calls for the use of zest. Alternatively, if you can’t get your hands on unwaxed citrus, try using natural citrus extract.
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and butter then line a 32 x 24 x 5cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper (the paper makes removal of the delicate slice easy, and the butter helps the paper to stay in place till it’s ready to be baked).
2. To make the base: put the flour, icing sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse. Add the butter and pulse till mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then add the vanilla extract and iced water till the pastry forms a ball. Remove from the processor and press evenly into the lined tin, making sure to get it into the corners.
3. Bake the base for about 15-20 minutes, or till the edges have gone golden and the pastry has dried a fair bit and firmed up.
4. While the pastry is baking, use a balloon whisk to lightly beat together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice. Sift the flour over the top and whisk it in till the mixture is smooth.
5. Once the base is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside for about 5-10 minutes to cool and drop the oven temperature to 150 degrees C (the warmer the pastry, the more apt it will be to absorb the egg mixture and go cakey and soggy). Once the base has sufficiently cooled, briefly whisk the egg mixture and pour over the base.
6. Carefully return to the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or till the topping has set. Once baked, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
If serving immediately, slice using a knife with a hot blade (stand in a glass of bowling water then dry), dust with a light sprinkling of icing sugar and top with chopped pistachios or fresh berries and cream.
If not serving straight away, cover tin tightly with cling film and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Bring back to room temperature before serving, and decorate with icing sugar and nuts or berries.
Make sure the slice has sufficiently cooled before slicing up, and clean between slices if you don’t want raggedy pieces like mine!
[tags]Belinda Jeffery, citrus, lemon slice, pistachio, crochet, amigurumi[/tags]
For those who requested photos of what I’ve been making – here are two of my most recent creations and one work in progress! The teddy heads are mobile/cell phone danglies, the pink is made with a DK 3ply yarn and 3mm hook, the blue is made with a baby 4ply yarn and a 2.5mm hook. The red heart is being made with a 5ply crochet cotton and a 2.5mm hook What can I say? I like making cute miniature things!