Impressive finale for lovers of lemons

SIMON HOLST
Last updated 08:21 06/11/2012
tdn pad
LINDSAY KEATS
Pad Thai

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We've heard it said that for everyone who loves chocolate, there's someone who loves lemon. This simple tart is for the lemon lovers out there! It's really quite versatile, making an impressive finale to almost any formal meal, or can be served during the day with tea or coffee.

If you're in a rush it works well with bought pastry, but if you have time on your hands you can always make your own.

SOUR CREAM-LEMON TART

For a 20cm tart (6-8 servings):

250g sweet short pastry (1 sheet pre-rolled)

1/2 cup sugar

Thinly peeled or grated rind of 1/2 lemon (see below)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup (250g) sour cream

2 tsp custard powder or cornflour

3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. While the oven heats, non- stick spray (or butter) a 20cm pie or flan dish (preferably with a removable base and fluted sides). Gently press the sheet of pastry into the pan and trim off any excess.

Measure the sugar into a food processor. Using a potato peeler, thinly peel the yellow rind from the lemon, or grate it finely - vary the quantity according to taste. Add the rind to the sugar, then process until the rind is cut finely through.

Mix the lemon juice with the custard powder (or cornflour). Add the sour cream and lemon juice mixture to the sugar, then process until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time with the processor running.

Pour the filling mixture into the pastry base, then bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is beginning to brown around the edges (the middle may still jiggle a little, but this is OK).

Remove tart from the oven, allow to cool (the middle will probably sink a little and become firmer).

Serve cut into wedges, topped with a spoonful of creme fraiche or lightly whipped cream and sprinkled with a curl or a few grated strands of lemon rind.

SWEET SHORT PASTRY

100g butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup plain flour

1 cup self-raising flour

Soften but do not melt the butter; add the sugar and egg then beat until well combined. Add the unsifted flours and mix well to form a dough. If too dry, add a little (teaspoon by teaspoon) milk. If too soft to work with, refrigerate rather than adding more flour.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured board before trimming to a round 3cm-4cm larger than the tin to be used.

( Note: This makes more pastry than is required for a single tart above; the extra can be frozen or refrigerated for later use).

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We've played around with a number of different versions of the classic Thai noodle dish, pad thai - this is a fairly simplified version, but we think that is one of the factors in its favour. With a little practice, this tasty dish can actually be prepared in about 15 minutes from start to finish, making it perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

PAD THAI

For 2-3 large servings:

150-200g rice noodles

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped

About 200g boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

1 tsp minced red chilli

200g cooked prawns, thawed and drained if frozen

1 Tbsp canola oil

4 spring onions, sliced diagonally

3 Tbsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp wine vinegar

1 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice

2 Tbsp sugar

1-2 cups bean sprouts

Chopped fresh coriander and roasted peanuts to garnish

Place the rice noodles in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 5-10 minutes or until soft and flexible, then drain well. (Check after five minutes as different brands seem to soften at different speeds and some get too soft if soaked too for long.)

Heat about 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large wok or frypan, then add the beaten egg and cook to form a thin omelette. As soon as the upper surface looks dry, roll or fold the omelette and remove it from the pan. Cut it into 1cm ribbons and set aside.

Add the rest of the first measure of oil to the pan, then add the garlic, cook over a high heat until it just begins to brown, then add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until chicken has lost its pink colour and is beginning to brown.

Stir in the chilli and prawns and stir-fry for a minute longer, then add the noodles, second measure of oil and the sliced spring onions. Toss to combine then add the fish sauce, vinegar, lime (or lemon) juice and sugar.

Stir-fry until the liquid has almost disappeared, then add the bean sprouts and cook for 1 minute longer.

Serve immediately garnished with chopped coriander and peanuts.

- Taranaki Daily News

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