Lemon tart with fresh vanilla mascarpone

I’ll be honest. I detest Christmas pudding. It’s stodgy and the last thing you need after a heavy meal and lots of wine! Does anybody really enjoy it?

My alternative is a lighter affair. The citrus really cuts through the richness of the previous two courses and the mascarpone gives a decadent feel to the dish.

And this can be made up to 2 days before Christmas day as well - it will keep fine in the fridge.

Ingredients – The dessert

  • 4 lemons (£1.08)
  • 250ml of long life double cream (90p)
  • 250g of Italian mascarpone (£1)
  • 6 Hoads farm medium free range eggs (£1.49) – we’re using 5 eggs
  • 1 fresh vanilla pod (£1.44)
  • 1 pack (500g) of caster sugar (72p) – we’re using 200 grams
  • 1 block (500g) of sweet shortcrust pastry (£1.50p) – we’re using 250 grams
  • The cupboard staples:Icing sugar and a dash of milk.

Total cost

If you already have the cupboard staples, then according to mysupermarket.co.uk, this trolley was cheapest at Tesco, where it came to £8.13 - that's £1.36 per head!


  • Preheat the oven to 200C. The filling for the tart is really easy. In a large bowl crack the eggs and whisk, then add the sugar (mixing in well) followed by the cream and the juice of 4 lemons. Sieve to make sure no pips in the mixture and then add the zest of 4 lemons.
  • Now for the pastry. Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Now roll the pasty over a tart case, making sure you get some overhang on the edges – line with baking paper and bake blind (you can use dried beans or rice if you don’t have the posh ceramic baking beans!). Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until the pastry has browned a little).
  • Remove the pastry case (and beans\baking paper) from the oven and turn down to 160C – pour the lemon mixture into the tart and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, the filling will feel just set and very slightly wobbly in the centre. The pastry should be browned lightly on the edges as well.
  • Leave to cool on a rack for at least 2 hours before serving (or placing in the fridge to keep). Dust with icing sugar before serving.
  • The vanilla mascarpone cream is very easy. Take the vanilla pod split and scrape out the seeds and add to the mascarpone. Add two tablespoons of caster sugar and a little milk to loosen the mascarpone. You can keep the vanilla pod and blitz with some sugar to make a vanilla sugar as well!
  • Happy eating!


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