Last week was a week of old favourites food wise. Whilst I usually try to mix things up with a new recipe at least once a week, everything on the menu was a tried and tested part of my repertoire for years this time round. And it made me think about what makes a recipe able to survive the test of time? What makes me come back time and again to the same few?
Whilst I would love to produce Ottolenghi standard food every day, there’s generally not enough time for that. So one of the key characteristics of old favourites is ease. They usually have a list of ingredients only long enough to fit on one, possibly 2, hands, and those ingredients are things that usually lurk in the fridge or store cupboard.
The method also needs to be both relatively easy (thus removing the need to a) find the recipe book and b) constantly consult it) and quick. And it’s a given that it also needs to be completely delicious and pass the Perky Kebab taste test!
Today’s recipe is one that ticks all of the above boxes and has thus truly stood the test of time. It’s my mum’s and I can remember her making it as far back as the early years of my childhood and I’m sure she was making it well before I came along. For years it was her go to dessert when people came over and I can see why. It’s easy to make, tastes amazing and looks pretty served with some fresh berries or just a dollop of cream.
It’s always just been known as a lemon tart in our house but we had friends to dinner who said it was like a much lighter more yummy cheesecake and they were totally spot on. It’s obviously not a cheesecake as there is no cheese in sight but thanks to the addition of condensed milk to the cream base, it is silkier and fluffier than a traditional lemon tart. It almost melts in the mouth.
It’s supposed to be made in a tart dish but unfortunately my dish is far too large so I subbed in a spring form cake tin instead. The result is a slightly messier version of my mum’s perfect tart but it still worked a treat. Enjoy.
Lemon “Cheesecake” Tart
8 digestive biscuits (125g)
60g butter, melted
1 tablespoon caster sugar
220ml double cream
170g condensed milk
2 large lemons
18cm pie dish or cake tin
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°c/140°c fan/320°f/gas mark 3.
- Crush the digestive biscuits in a bag or a bowl using a rolling pin until they resemble fine crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and sugar.
- Turn the mixture into the cake tin/pie dish and press into the sides and bottom. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and cool.
- Meanwhile beat together the cream, condensed milk and the finely grated zest of both lemons using a handheld whisk until a little airy – about 5 minutes. Don’t worry the mixture will look runny at this stage. Slowly beat in the juice of both lemons (this will thicken the mixture).
- Pour into the dish and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
The biscuit base will go a bit soggy after a day but you can make this the day before if you don’t mind a slightly softer base. It tastes just as good 3 days later if there are leftovers!