I LOVE lemon tarts. My husband LOOOOOOOVES lemon tarts. When we were in Paris, we both “discovered” this amazing dessert (Tarts au Citron!) so ever since then, I have been constantly trying new recipes to make awesome tarts at home.
Most of the time, lemon tart is a great dessert in the summer – refreshing, not too sweet, and just the right kick of lemony sourness. But this time, in February, I had a hankering to make it for a friend’s dinner party. They are often great at being my guinea pigs for new recipes!
The result? it is delicious. Just so smooth and the right amount of lemony-ness. I just didn’t tell them how much butter went into it! (Ignorance is bliss for many dessert eaters!). Note that the original recipe actually uses Meyer Lemons. Which is this beautiful sweet kind of lemons. Well I couldn’t find any, so I used plain old yellow large lemons from the store. It works out just fine!
Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Meyer Lemon Tart
- Making the Tart
Pate Sucre (Makes 4 x 8in pie crust)
300g unsalted butter, at room temp, cubed
190g powdered sugar
60g ground almonds (from blanched almond slices)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, at room temp
500g AP flour
1 tsp salt
- Cream butter till smooth and creamy with a paddle attachment
- using a blender/food processor (I have a Blendtec) – mix the sliced almonds and powdered sugar together to ground the almonds till powdery. (I put the powdered sugar together so that the almonds do not become butter/wet from its own oils)
- Add the almond/sugar powder with vanilla into butter until combined.
- Add each egg one at a time
- add salt and flour into the mixture (i did it in 3 batches – low speed!)
- Add in bits of water if the dough doesn’t come together (I ended up having to use about tbsp of water)
- Divide the dough into 4 portions and use saran wrap to store in fridge to chill – minimum 1 hour
- Take 1 disk and roll into about 1/8″ thickness (between 2 parchment paper to avoid mess and extra flour)
- Line to your desire tart pan – I used a rectangular one this time. Prick with a fork all over the base. Put back in the fridge for another 1 hour minimum.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (I used convectional bake)
- Lay a parchment paper on top of the tart, and fill with pie weights (or beans/rice if you don’t have any)
- Bake for 20 mins with the weights, remove and continue baking for another 8-10 mins until your desire golden brown colour. Use foil to cover edge if it is getting too brown (with base not yet the desire colour)
- Take out of oven and let cool in the pan.
2. Making the lemon filling – recipe makes enough for 1 tart, with a bit to spare
200g whole eggs (4 large eggs were used)
240g granulated sugar (I ended up using about 220g as I didn’t want it to be too sweet)
160g fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
zest from 5 large lemons – I used 6.
300g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
- Mix the zest with the sugar until you have a fragrant sugary goodness. Take out 1-2 tsp into a separate bowl if you are using it for topping later – see below
- In a double boiler (stainless bowl on top of a pot of simmering water – make sure the bottom does not touch the water), put in the lemon zest sugar, eggs, and juice.
- Whisk continuously and with a candy thermometer, mix until it reaches 85C. It should take at least 8-10 mins and you will see it thicken, leaving trails by the end. Take off heat
- You can strain the mixture if you want it extra smooth, I choose not to as i like having some of the lemon bits in it
- wait at least 3 minutes for the mixture to cool a bit (to approx 60c) before slowly adding butter. Use a hand blender to mix or you can put it into a blender.
- The entire mixture should be creamy and light in colour at this point
- Pour the lemon filling into the cooled tart and refridgerate for at least 3-4 hours until it is set.
Pierre Herme’s lemon tart recipe ends there. But I wanted some little bit of extra on top to balance out the lemony goodness. So I added a bit of Meringue, candied lemon slices and 1-2 tsp of the leftover lemon zest sugar
2 egg whites
4 TBSP granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- with a whisk attachment on low setting, mix egg white and cream of tartar until foamy and white
- gradually and slowly put in the sugar until stiff peaks
- add in vanilla last if using
- pipe or spread onto the lemon filling (after it’s been set in the fridge)
For candied lemon slices:
- cut a few thin lemon slices
- add 1/3 cup of water and 1/3 cup of white sugar into a pot and melt
- add the lemon slices for 3-5 minutes to coat.
- spread onto a wax paper to cool completely before using