There is always a risk of not being set properly in desserts with high acidity, ingredients, like lemon tart, and there can be problems in the textures of the curd. But why? What factors can cause lemon tart not setting, and how to tell if it’s set?
Some of the reasons why the lemon tart is not setting may be the high temperature at the moment of cutting it, time and the temperature of cooking, or the quality of raw materials. Just by looking or putting a light pressure with your finger, you can tell if the tart is set or not.
Although, don’t panic even if any of those happen to you. Where there are problems, for sure there are also solutions. Let’s see below reasons why lemon tart may not be set and how to make lemon tart again an on top dessert.
Why Is Your Lemon Tart Not Setting?
If your tart is not set, maybe you have to consider if you have made some of the mistakes mentioned below:
One very common reason that the tart may not set is maybe that it’s too hot. That is the major reason why this tart needs refrigeration, so the lemon curs get thicker and have a more compact texture. If the lemon curd does not get thicker, then as soon as you cut a piece of your tart, all the remaining curd will be runny.
Egg Yolks Enzymes
Because the egg yolk enzymes can liquidize starch, there is a risk for the tart not to set. You, unfortunately, cannot notice this immediately, but only after it is cooled. To avoid this, it’s important to heat the curd high enough to deactivate those enzymes.
It`s Not Cooked Enough
Not only does the right temperature matter to deactivate the enzyme, but also the time of cooking. This is because the lemon curd needs its time to be cooked. If it does not get cooked properly, it may not be set. In this case, the curd will look okay from the outside, but from the inside will be very liquid.
(Not That) Fresh Ingredients
As the basis of all recipes, the ingredients should be fresh to obtain the best quality and reduce the risk of not getting the expected result. So, be careful with the eggs before using them; check the expiration date.
Sometimes, you may use industrial lemon juice instead of a fresh one to lower the costs. Don`t do that. It is crucial that the lemon juice is fresh and squeezed almost immediately to obtain its value.
Still, if it happens, it does not mean that you cannot fix it. There are always a couple of ways to make it good again.
How Do You Fix a Runny Lemon Tart?
A preferable way is putting pudding powder. As this product is designed to thicken thin masses and make them creamy, if you add it to your lemon curd and boil for some minutes, your curd will eventually start to be compact. You can use lemon pudding power, but if you want to experiment, you can choose another fruit from the citrus family, like orange.
Cornstarch or Flour
Reheat the curd again and without going to the boiling point, add one tablespoon of cornstarch for 1 cup of lemon curd. You will mix it until it has the desired consistency. The same technique can be done with flour, only, in this case, you will pour two tablespoons for 1 cup of lemon curd. Be careful to stir it to reduce the clumps continuously.
How to Tell If the Lemon Tart Is Set?
Very simply, there is a high possibility that only by watching you can understand if it is set or not. When the lemon tard is set, the surface has a matte yellow shade instead of shining and glossy.
Still, if you feel like you cannot conclude it only by observation, you can do it by gently putting a little pressure with a finger in the side of the tart and feel if it can easily get dipped or if you feel a resistance from the lemon tart.
Can You Overcook a Tart?
As in every other recipe, there also is a risk of overcooking and almost destroying it. Even though lemon tart is a relatively easy recipe, it can happen.
Some bakers prefer to cook the tart shell from scratches. If you do this, keep in mind how much time needs the shell to be baked. It will get very crusty and difficult to bite and swallow if you overbake it. According to the recipe you are following, the time may vary, but appearance is a trick that can help you. If the tart stars get golden, it’s a sign that you need to get it out of the oven.
The lemon curd can also be overcooked, which is not a good thing for your final recipe. If you boil it more than needed, the curd will be clumsy while you need it to be smooth. To avoid this, I am sharing another simple trick: Put a spoon in the mixing and pass your finger on the back and if you can see a visible line, it means that it is ready.