I am an avid collector of cookbooks and recipes. My bookcase groans from the weight of the 500+ books it holds. The Internet is also a treasure trove of a never ending supply of recipes to try. But somehow, I am always drawn back to the tried and true recipes given to me by my friends or loved ones. The ones that are in handwritten in my book, the title bearing the name of the person who shared it with me.
You know the recipes I mean. That chocolate cake your best friend always makes, and then shared the recipe with you. Your Grandmother’s traditional Fruit Cake. Your Mum’s special chutney. These are the recipes we turn to, time and time again. They work, they’ve been tested time and time again, enjoyed together, and shared to make again. We’re not just cooking, we’re remembering that special someone, transporting ourselves to time spent with that person. That’s what cooking is all about. Sharing and memories.
I’ve got a bunch of recipes that have been handed to me by friends and family, and they are all special. This one I particularly love because it is ridiculously easy, looks like you’ve been slaving away for hours, makes you look like a real pastry chef, and is unbelievably delicious. Plus, it comes from a very special , beautiful and dear person who I love and have the utmost respect for, my Aunty Tona (her given name is Antonetta, but as a child I always said Tona, and it stuck). She is an incredibly good cook and I remember all her amazing creations adorning our tables growing up, particularly her sweets, so you know this is a tried and true, utterly amazing recipe that works. I can’t bear to call this dish anything other name.
So I now share this very special family recipe with you, Aunty Tona’s Lemon Tart. No rolling of pastry, no need to ‘blind bake’, no tricks or pressure points. If you’re feeling virtuous go ahead and make your own lemon curd, but honestly it is so much easier to just buy a jar ready made. Next time you’re at a food market buy a jar of someone else’s homemade curd, they’re usually better than the supermarket variety. Make it and enjoy the sweet, lemony, melt in your mouth pastry tonight. But please, keep the name, and share it with others. It’s how we are remembered.