As much as I love lemon curd, it’s been difficult eating a kilo’s worth on my own. Still, I thought I was doing OK until the weekend, when a glance into the lemony depths revealed a few white flecks of mould. It was time to get proactive. I scraped out the offending particles, gave the rest a good sniff (still yummy) and resolved to get out the baking utensils. The curd would not go to waste.
I decided to make lemon tarts, but to do so I would have to conquer my fear of making pastry. It is a truth universally acknowledged, you see, that Old Granny Hog – my ma’s ma – is a legend in the kitchen, particularly when it comes to all things pastry-based. The finest Eccles cakes in all the land, mince pies, lemon meringue to die for… following an act like that is no mean feat.
To be fair, she is 94, so she’s had a while longer to practise than I have. Still, it is off-putting to know – before opening even a single cookbook – that my baking will inevitably be sub-standard (or sub-gran-dard, if you like).
And so it came to pass. I mixed, floured, rolled and baked my way to a set of lemon tarts that were all right – but not nearly as nice as my Granny could make. Using vegan margarine instead of butter probably didn’t help (it was all we had in the house). They were misshapen too – plus my lemon curd topping was slightly singed around the edges (as you’ll see only too clearly from the photo). On the positive side, they weren’t soggy, so as far as I’m concerned it was a relatively solid effort – for my first ever go without Granny’s supervision, that is.
As soon as they were cool enough to touch, the Man ate four and would not hear a word said against them. It was the best way to use lemon curd, he said. Crunchy, zingy and fresh – with a lovely colour to boot (apart from the black, I presume). I don’t think he was having me on… Still, he hasn’t had my Granny’s version, so he wouldn’t know any better – poor lamb.
The verdict then? There’s definitely room to improve. Mind you, it’s not too bad a start. If I can only overcome my trepidation, there’s a whole world of quiches, croissants and pies that’s mine for the taking.
I just hope I can get there before I reach 94.