Lemon Cream Tart

Lemon Cream Tart

π! π! π! And lemons! Okay, okay, I've been on a slight lemon/citrus thing lately. Sorry, back to regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise.


It's Pi Day! During the 8th grade, my school held a contest to see what student could memorize the most digits of π. I think the prize was extra credit in math class. Needless to say I didn't win that competition (and in hindsight, what was the point?) but I was very happy to turn that loss into a pie binge. Even though Peach Pie is my favorite, in a pinch, a good tart will satisfy my Pi Day/life cravings. 

This tart is as tasty as any pie you'll have today. The recipe for this Lemon Cream Tart is from the world famous Tartine in The Mission District of San Francisco. You'll know you're in the vicinity of this bakery by the wonderful smells and the line out the door. This tart will knock your socks off! It is slightly tart, very rich, thick and full of butter - all the prerequisites for a delicious tart!


Lemon Cream Tart

Source: Tartine
Makes one 9 inch tart

This tart only needs half of this dough recipe. The extra dough can be frozen for another tart! The Lemon Cream can be made ahead and refrigerated before assembling tart. Soften cream from the refrigerator by spooning it into a stainless steel bowl and warming over a double boiler. Stir constantly and heat until the cream is pourable but not completely liquid, about six minutes. Pour cream directly into shell, smooth and chill for about two hours before serving.

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour

Egg wash (optional)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pinch of salt

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter (1 cup), cool

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth. Mix in the egg and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into two equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1/2 inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight. 
  3. Take one disc of dough out of refrigerator and allow to warm slightly while wrapped. Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8 inch thick, rolling from center toward the edge in all directions. Lift and rotate dough every few strokes and flour underneath as necessary to discourage sticking, working quickly to keep the dough cool. Roll circle 2 inches larger than tartlet shell pan. 
  4. Ease dough gently into the pan and trim with a sharp knife. Place the pastry shell in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up before baking. 
  5. Preheat oven to 325°.
  6. Dock the bottom of the tart with fork and bake for 22-25 minutes until golden brown. A minute or two before desired color is reached, remove the shell from the oven and lightly brush sides and bottom with egg wash. 
  7. Let the shell cool completely on wire racks before filling. 
  8. Fill saucepan with two inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a nonreactive stainless steel bowl combine lemon juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt and whisk. Place bowl over the simmering saucepan, make sure water doesn't touch the bottom.
  9. Continuously whisk the mixture until it becomes very thick and registers 180° on an instant read thermometer, 10-12 minutes. Remove bowl from over the water and let cool on counter until 140°, stirring occasionally. 
  10. Meanwhile, cut the into rough tablespoon pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender or pour into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, blending each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow, opaque, and thick.
  11. Have cooled sweet tart shell ready for filling. After making the lemon cream, pour directly into the cooled tart shell. Shake the tart pan gently to smooth out the top of the filling. Use offset spatula to smooth completely. Chill the tart until firm, about 2 hours, before serving.
  12. Top tart with candied lemon zest, fresh flowers, grated lemon zest, or a dollop of whipped cream (or nothing!). 
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