Monday, August 4

The Perfect Lemon Tart


This truly is the perfect lemon tart.  The puckery lemon custard delivers a pure lemon flavor, perfect ending to any meal!

This is a throw back to culinary school days when we would practice making this tart endlessly. When done right, it's fantastic. I usually play it loose with the recipes but this one you must follow precisely. Not that it is difficult, just several steps involved...but  well worth the effort.
 Look for this one in the Autumn when we start back up our LIVE from ITALY: Online Cooking Classes!!

 It can be made as a large tart or as individual tartlets.


Shortbread Dough (Pâte sablée)
255 g flour, sifted (9 oz)
150 g butter (3.5 oz)
90 g confectioners sugar (3 oz)
few drops of vanilla
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1-2 tablespoons ice cold water

Sift the flour onto the work surface and make a well in the center.
Dice the butter and place it in the well, then work it with your fingertips until its very soft.
Sift the confectioners’ sugar on the the butter and add the salt, working it into the butter.
Add the egg yolks and mix well. Gradually draw in the flour and mix until completely incorporated/amalgamated. Add the vanilla extract.
Give the dough a turn or two.
Briefly kneed the dough and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. (Dough will keep well refrigerated for several days if necessary.)

When well chilled (an hour or so), roll out on your board. Transfer to an  8 in. tart ring. Blind bake at 375 F / 190 C

Lemon Cream
175 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 oz) - about 5-6 lemons
150 g unsalted butter at room temperature (3.5 oz) - cut into pieces
200 g sugar (7 oz)
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks

In a stainless steel pot, heat the lemon juice, butter and 150 g sugar over low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer (about 2 minutes).

Using a wire whisk, beat the eggs, egg yolks, and remaining 50 g sugar until the mixture is pale and light (about 4-5 minutes).  Slowly pour half of the hot lemon juice mixture into the egg/sugar mixture to temper, beating until blending and fluffy. 

Return the mixture to the saucepan containing remaining  hot lemon mixture and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spoon, until the mixture nearly starts to simmer - about 3 minutes.

Transfer the lemon cream to a metal bowl and place over a water bath to cool. (If not using immediately, lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream.)

When cool, spread the lemon cream evenly into the pastry shell. Smooth the top with a spatula. Place the tart back in the oven and bake for 5 minutes to set the filling slightly without coloring it.

Carefully remove the tart if made in a ring pan and let cool on a wire rack. Place in the fridge until the tart until the filling is firm. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving.

Garnish with compote of wild berries or candied lemon zest!

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