My theory is that everyone has a default pudding. My dad will always choose cheesecake, my daughter ice-cream, my husband loves a cheese plate and my best friend the chocolatiest thing on the menu. My weakness has always been lemon tart. Due to this lifelong love, I was sceptical that I’d be able to come up with a vegan take that would satisfy my own appetite, but here we are. In this recipe, silken tofu forms a rich base to overlay sharp winter lemons. It’s different from the traditional tart in that it’s fresher and brighter, so this is in no way a substitute, but another wonderful lemon tart in its own right.
You’ll need a loose-bottomed 24cm tart case and some blind baking beans (or dried beans) and a food processor. Any leftover lemons can be used to decorate the tart, as per the photo. The tart is best eaten on the day it’s made, or soon after.
Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Chill 2 hr 30 min+
Makes 1 x 24cm tart, to serve 8
For the pastry
150g plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
75g vegan butter, cold
For the curd filling
2 x 300g packs silken tofu, drained (580g drained weight) – I like Clearspring
7 lemons, zested and juiced, to get 240ml
200g caster sugar
50ml soya milk
4 tbsp cornflour
100g vegan butter, melted
¼ tsp turmeric
For the pastry, in a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt a few times, to combine. Add the butter, blitz for about a minute, add a tablespoon of water pulse just until the dough comes together, then stop – don’t over-process it, or the pastry will be tough. Tip out the dough on to a work surface, use your hands to bring it together into a a disc, then wrap in greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. For the filling, put the tofu, lemon juice and zest, and the sugar in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Make a slurry with the soya milk and cornflour, then add this and the melted butter to the lemon mix and blitz to mix. Add the turmeric, blitz again, then scrape the filling into a jug and set aside while you blind bake the tart case.
Take the dough from the fridge and on a clean, floured work surface roll it out into a 32cm-diameter circle. Using the rolling pin to help you, carefully lift the pastry circle into the tart case, then, using your thumbs, gently help it into the edges and up the sides. Once lined, tear off a piece of baking paper large enough to cover the tart base with plenty of excess, lay it on top and fill the tart case with baking beans or similar. Blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove and check how the case is cooking: once the pastry is starting to look dry and pale beige in colour, lift out the paper and beans, and bake the case for another six minutes, until just starting to brown.
Pour the lemon mix into the blind-baked tart case, tap the tin on a flat surface to level out the filling and return to the oven for 30 minutes. After this time, the tart won’t look properly baked, but don’t be alarmed: just remove it from the oven, leave to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least two hours, until the filling is set and the tart is ready to slice and serve.