Mothering Sunday is just around the corner. Mothering Sunday was traditionally a day when domestic servants – mainly daughters who had gone into service – were given the day off to visit their families.

Nowadays, it’s just nice to say thank you to hardworking mums for everything they do. If you decide to cook a celebratory meal at home, making a pudding is always good to do, as a homemade pud shows you’ve gone the extra mile.

A classic lemon tart never fails. Despite finding it on so many menus, the luscious tangy centre and perfect pastry are always a hit.

There’s something enduring about this pudding. It looks great, it’s light and fresh after a big meal, it’s rich and creamy enough to satisfy if the weather is cool, yet it gives the promise of summer days. I can’t see it ever going out of fashion.

It can be made the day before, if you wish, which will take the pressure off cooking lunch on Mothering Sunday.

Should you want to give your tart a very professional, restaurant finish, scorch the icing sugar with a blow torch to lightly caramelise it. But be careful not to burn the pastry!

Classic lemon tart


For the pastry

175g/6oz plain flour

100g/3.5oz chilled butter, cut into small pieces

25g/1oz icing sugar

1 free-range egg yolk

1 tbsp cold water

For the filling

5 free-range eggs

125ml/4fl oz double cream

225g/8oz caster sugar

4 lemons, preferably unwaxed, keep both the juice and the zest

Icing sugar to dust your tart before serving

Financiers – fantastic tasty little almond cakes



1. Place the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor. Mix until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the egg yolk and water.

If you don’t have a food processor, rub the flour and butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the other ingredients.

2. Mix again until the mixture sticks together in clumps then tip onto a work surface and gather it together to form a ball.

Knead the pastry just two or three times to make it smooth. Don’t take too long over this as you don’t want your pastry to warm up.

3. Grease a 23cm/9in loose-bottomed tart tin. Roll out the pastry, then line the tart tin with the pastry pressing the overhanging pastry gently over the rim, then prick the base with a fork.

4. Place the pastry-lined tin on a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

6. Cover your pastry with baking parchment, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 12-15 minutes, until the pastry is set, then carefully lift out the parchment and beans.

Trim the excess pastry from the sides using a sharp knife, then return the empty pastry case to the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until it is pale gold in colour.

7. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

8. For the filling, break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk again until they are all well combined.

Pour the filling mixture into a jug, then into the cooled baked pastry case. To prevent it spilling as it goes in the oven, pour in most of the filling so it almost fills the tart, carefully sit the baking sheet and tart on the oven shelf, then top up with the rest of the filling to completely fill it.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until just set but with a slight wobble in the centre.

9. Leave to cool slightly then, when the pastry seems firm enough, remove the tart from the tin. The easiest way to do this is to place the base of the tin on an upturned can or jam jar and let the outer ring fall to the work surface.

Transfer the tart to a serving plate and serve warm or cold, dusted with sifted icing sugar.

To add a very professional finish you can use a blow torch to caramelise the icing sugar on top of your tart.

Do this lightly and quickly, you don’t want the sugar or the pastry to burn.