Not too long ago I bought a large net of lemons intending to make a hot baked lemon pudding cake, but then boom, we are suddenly in the middle of the hottest weather we have experienced in 6years and the idea of baking and eating a hot dessert was no longer appealing.
I still wanted to enjoy some weekend baking but it had to be quick, simple and fresh. I decided to use my lemons to make something zingy and chilled. I find citrus so refreshing in hot weather. Instantly I thought of a lemon tart, but didn’t want the hassle of having to make and bake my own gluten free pastry. Instead I decided to simply make the filling and bake these into little dishes, which I could then eat chilled. This also meant minimal preparation and amount of time the oven had to be on.
I based the recipe on one of Delia’s for a lemon tart. This called for cream which I didn’t have, so instead I used yogurt which I thinned with a little milk. This worked really well and gave the finished ‘tart’ a fresh and clean taste, rather than making it too rich and creamy.
The lemon mix only needs lightly whisking together and it’s ready. I chose to bake it in a water bath as without the pastry crust, and in individual servings, I felt it was at risk of over baking from the dry heat in the oven. This worked well and resulted in a thin firmer top with a delicious, softly set, almost crème brulee like zingy lemon filling.
To make the dessert extra special I served it with some tiny cubes of super sweet fresh mango that I first marinated in basil and homemade elderflower syrup. The basil may sound like a strange addition, but it just added another clean fresh note, without being too obviously basil. Mint would be a great substitute too. The floral mango and elderflower went perfectly with the fresh and zingy lemon.
The desserts were fresh, light and zingy. If you can image stirring lemon curd into a set custard that’s the kind of flavour and consistency you get, only slightly lighter. The perfect sweet treat to enjoy after a light dinner on a hot day.
Crustless Lemon Tart with Mango, Basil & Elderflower
80-100ml lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
60g caster sugar
40g Greek yoghurt
½ ripe mango
2 basil leaves (or mint)
3 tsp homemade elderflower syrup (or lemon syrup or Limoncello)
Cream or Greek yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar, you want them combined, but not fluffy.
Add the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.
Mix the yoghurt and milk together and then add to the lemon mixture.
Mix until smooth and combined.
Divide the lemon mix between two pudding dishes (approx 12cm diameter) or 3 ramekins.
Place the dishes or ramekins into a deep sided baking tray. Add boiling water from the kettle carefully into the tin, so that it reaches half way up the sides of the dishes.
Place into the oven for 15-18 minutes.
They should be softly set on top and still slightly wobbly in the centre when baked.
Remove from the oven and take the dishes out of the water bath. Leave to cool for 1 hour before chilling in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
Meanwhile, slice one mango cheek into thin fingers, remove the skin and cut into cubes about 5mm square.
Place into a small bowl along with 2 finely shredded basil or mint leaves.
Drizzle over 3tsp elderflower syrup and stir until evenly coated.
Chill in the fridge until required.
To serve, place a large spoonful of the marinated mango onto the chilled lemon dessert. Serve with a blob of lightly whipped cream or thick Greek yoghurt.
Eat and enjoy
Serve 2-3 depending on dish used
Note: Recipe can easily be doubled or quadrupled as required
To make your own elderflower syrup
Elderflower grows wild in huge bushy patches almost everywhere. Make sure the flowers are pure white and fragrant. If they are yellow, they are past their best.
Pick the flowers off a large bunch of elderflower and place into a saucepan with 1 pint of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave until cool.
Strain the water through a fine sieve or muslin to remove the elderflowers. Weigh the amount of water you have left and add the same quantity of caster sugar.
Stir together and bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and then allow to bubble until thick and syrupy.
Transfer to clean seteralised jars that you have first heated in the oven.
Store in the fridge
Great in drinks, over ice cream or yogurt or drizzled over fresh fruit or cake