Tart au Citron (French Lemon Tart)

I made this as well as chocolate ganache tart and brought them on my last day of work. Many of my lovely colleagues aware of the calories intake as all of us have already being too indulgent recently. They asks which is less fattening. I was like, er.. probably similar I guess. But at the end, the lemon tart is more popular.

Despite the amount of butter used in the lemon cream (not to mention the crust), which is the reason that makes the tart so dreamy creamy, the tanginess of the lemon is so refreshing and it almost gives you an illusion that it is not fatty.

To my regret, the tart is supposed to baked in the french round tart tin, I couldn’t find it near my neighborhood so I used the flower tart tin instead.

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Tart au Citron (French Lemon Tart) (Adadpted from Baking with Dorie adapted from Pierre Hermé)

Ingredients

Lemon Cream

1 cup sugar

finely granted zest of 3 lemons

4 large eggs

3/4 cup freshly sqeezed lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)

10 1/2 oz unsalted butter, at room temperture

Tart Shell

refer to the pâte sucrée recipe

 

Directions

1. Getting Ready: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

3. Set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

4. As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

5. Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

6. Pour the lemon cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days and, or tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

7. When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate ‘until needed.

Serving: It’s a particular pleasure to have this tart when the cream is cold and the crust is at room temperature. A raspberry or other fruit coulis is nice, but not necessary; so is a little crème fraîche. I know it sounds odd to offer something as rich as crème fraîche with a tart like this, but it works because the lemon cream is so light and so intensely citric, it doesn’t taste or feel rich.

Storing: While you can make the lemon cream ahead, once the tart is constructed, it’s best to eat it the day it is made.

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Pâte Sucrée

Pate Sucree is Sweet Pie/Tart Pastry

Ingredients

  • 285g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean pulp
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 490g all-purpose flour  (chill this in the freezer if making it in the summer)

Directions

  1. Cream the butter using a food processor or a kitchenaid with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and mix well.  Next, add the almond powder, salt, vanilla and mix until the mixture is smooth, again scraping when necessary. Add the eggs and mix just until blended. Add the flour steadily. There is no need to wait for the flour to be incorporated thoroughly after each addition. Mix just until the ingredients come together to form a soft, moist dough that doesn’t clean the sides of the bowl completely but does hold together. Don’t overdo it.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces:  3 pieces for 10-inch tarts, 4 for 9-inch tarts.  Or, you can shape it into one large ball and cut off as much as you need.  Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic.  Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or for up to 2 days before rolling and baking.  The dough can also be wrapped and frozen for up to a month.
To bake:
Butter a tart ring and preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface (I roll mine between sheets of cling wrap so that it won’t stick) to a thickness between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch.  Fit the dough onto the bottom and sides of the ring and leave some of the excess.  Prick the dough all over with a fork and chill for at least 3o minutes in the refrigerator
When you are ready to bake the crust, fit a circle of parchment paper or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or coins.  Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes , until it is just lightly colored.  If it needs more time in the oven, remove the rice/beans/coins and the parchment paper and bake for another five minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and trim off the excess dough using a sharp knife. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool.