Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD: The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart




Another delicious week participating in the Tuesdays with Dorie challenge! This week was a lemon tart and particularly a lemon tart that I've had my eye on for a while. I'm going to try and keep this short since I'm a bit bogged down with school right now.


I halved the lemon cream (but forgot to half the butter the first time, resulting in a very hard and for some reason iron-tasting "cream" so had to remake it), but didn't half the tart dough. I now have a couple of extra little tarts waiting in the freezer, hoping that someone picks another tart soon. I absolutely loved the tart shell itself - it was like a cookie. And it was the easiest tart I've made, which is great for my rolling dough out fear. All you do is press the crumbly "dough" into the tart pans and out come these wonderful delicious tarts. I will definitely be using this tart dough recipe again. (Oh and I finally got the chance to use these cute tartlet pans!)


As for the lemon cream, I didn't love it. It was beautiful and it had a great texture. And certainly it was good, but it just wasn't my favourite thing. Other people liked it, and I think it's the perfect thing to make for a lemon lover.

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers to see their lemon tarts! Edit: I forgot to mention that Mary from Staring From Scratch chose the recipe this week.


Other TWD challenges I've done:
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Orange Berry Muffins

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 c fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp butter (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough, fully baked (see below)

Getting ready:
Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender or food processor ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large metal 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.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you 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 180F, 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 may take as long as 10 minutes.

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

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 bend 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.

Pour the cream into a container, cover tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

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.

Sweet Tart Dough
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed - press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F.

Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

To Fully Bake the Crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To Patch a Partially or Fully Baked Crust, if Necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice of a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, baking for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

50 comments:

Sarah said...

Your tarts look amazing! I had the exact opposite experience...wasn't blown away with the tart dough, but loved the cream. Oh well...still tasty!

Gloria said...

This looks delicious, delicious I will tryxxxGloria

LyB said...

Very cute tart shapes! I'm one of those lemon lovers so I couldn't stop eating the cream all by itself! :)

The Frosted Bake Shop said...

your tarts look great. im jealous of your cream.

Shari said...

I like the individual lemon tart pans you have! I gotta get some!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I am totally with you! Loved the cookie crust and wasn't a fan of the cream. I LOVE your cute tart shapes!!!!

Grace said...

i'm absolutely crazy about your tart shapes! they're unique and adorable and picture-perfect!

Rebecca said...

I really liked the tart shell more than the lemon cream, too. Just like a big shortbread cookie. Yum.

CRS said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly--it was good, but not the best thing I've ever eaten. Yours came out beautiful, and I love your diamond tartlet pans!

VeggieGirl said...

what a GORGEOUS lemon tart!! I like your modifications.

Deb Schiff said...

Lovely! Your cream looks so delightful.

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

saying delicious is not enough..that cream looks so great and should be fantastic.
It's the first time I visit your blog and I find it absoloutely fantastic. Great recipes and I enjoy a lot reading it!
Silvia

Annemarie said...

Those little tart pans are cute! Nice job!

Madam Chow said...

That last picture is eatable! And the little tartlets are the way to go, I think, in a dessert with a POUND of butter!

Dolores said...

Great job. I love the little ones. :)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Love the tart shapes and your cream looks perfect! It's a shame it wasn't to your taste, but it's great that you gave it a try!

Mary said...

your tart shape/pan is fantastic...I've never seen those! besides the shape, they look absolutely delicious...great job!

Engineer Baker said...

Your mini tartlets are adorable! It's too bad you weren't as big a fan, but they definitely look delicious!

Carrie said...

Incredible!

winedeb said...

I am a lemon lover and my mouth is watering right now viewing these! Such cute little shapes from your new tart pans!

Gigi said...

I love all the little tarts and the shapes! Great idea on freezing the extra shells.

annmartina said...

My mouth started watering looking at your photos. I'm glad I have this tart in my fridge to go home to.

Lisa said...

You have certainly mastered this recipe. Your presentation is also gorgeous. I'd so like to enjoy one of these right now.

Mary Ann said...

Love your individual tarts-so cute! Your pics are beautiful!

mimi said...

your mini tarts look great! i love the photo of the creamy inside in the slice.

amanda. said...

I love all the different shapes! Great job!

CB said...

Your mini tart shapes are so cute! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Donna said...

Sorry you didn't love it. But it still looks fabulous!

On another note...I just noticed that Easy Peasy asked you to do a review for them. They asked me in January just before their book came out. Here's the link for an exclusive interview I did for them on Suite101. Good cookies!
http://bakingdesserts.suite101.com/article.cfm/101_easy_cookie_recipes_cookbook

Tammy said...

yum! Your tarts look so good. We all enjoyed my tart as well

Kevin said...

That lemon cream looks so amazingly good!

Erin said...

I love the shape of your tarts! Your cream looks delicious- very nice and creamy :)

giz said...

Such a different looking texture to most things lemon that I've seen - it looks really rich and decadent.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

The shapes are great! And the filling looks so rich and creamy...yum. I wish I still had some in the fridge.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love how you differently shaped the tarts. They look delish.

Melissa said...

Those are so cute!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Beautiful and delicious. I love the picture with the custard slightly oozing. Mmmm.

campo di fragole said...

These little tartelett looks really delicious!!
I am craving for 1 :(
Besos
daniela

Natalie said...

Love those tart shapes!

Homecooked said...

Your tarts look perfect! Wish I could have a bite!

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Wow, those look decadent! I've got some serious lemon lovers in my life, this seems like just the thing for them!

katiez said...

I'm a lemon lover...These would be perfect for me. All of them!

Chuck said...

Simply delicious looking! I would do anything for one of those tarts right now! Yummy!

Lina said...

looks amazingly deliscious. Im drooling...

Bellini Valli said...

I have come to discover that lemons are my thing. I zest all over the place. These tarts are no exception..they look lovely too:D

Cakespy said...

I've looked at this a few times now, and just have to say--WOW. The creamy filling...the crust...oh man.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

I would also skip the crust and just go for the filling.....

jd said...

Those tarts look lovely!

I've been planning to make some tarts for my upcoming graduation party - this recipe just might be the one to help get me there!

Great pictures, too :)

PS I almost bought those same plates from Ikea! LOL!

eatme_delicious said...

Thanks everybody for all the wonderful comments. :)

Jerri said...

oh! that looks awesome. Wish I had some!

Jaime said...

your tarts are adorable! your cream was so much lighter than mine... mine was very thick and spreadable.