Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

Why I Made Dinner (and Dessert)

Posted April 10, 2011

Lemon Cream Tart
Adapted from Tartine
Makes one 9-inch tart, 8 to 12 servings

I made a few changes in the recipe just in terms of streamlining and personal taste.

For the crust
9 ounces (1 cup + 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3½ cups all purpose flour

For the lemon cream
½ cup + 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

To finish the tart
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 tsp. sugar

Make the crust
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth.  Mix in 1 egg.  Add the remaining 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.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 4 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk ½ inch thick.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.  (At this point, unless you are planning to make four lemon tarts, make sure three of your crusts are well-wrapped in plastic and then foil, then put them in the freezer.)

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to 1/8-inch thick round, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions.  Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn after every few strokes, dusting underneath as necessary to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough from becoming too warm.  Roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle.  If the dough becomes too soft to work with, place it in the refrigerator briefly.  Loosely roll the dough onto the rolling pin and then unroll it into a 9-inch tart pan.  Carefully coax the dough into the pan without stretching it, but making sure it is touching the whole bottom of the pan and is in the “corners”.  Fold the excess dough over to double the thickness of the sides.  Dock (make small holes in) the bottom of the pan with a fork or a knife and place the pastry shell in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the lemon cream
Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.  Combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless-steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of saucepan over, not touching, the water.  Whisk the lemon juice, eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt together.  (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the eggs will “cook” the yolks and turn them granular.)  Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180ºF on a thermometer.  This will take 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140ºF, stirring occasionally from time to time to release the heat.

Meanwhile, cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces.  When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a counter top blender.  With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at at time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece.  The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick.  You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  To use after refrigeration, gently heat in a stainless-steel bowl set over simmer water until it has softened.

Finish the tart
Make sure the tart shell is completely cool.  Pour the lemon cream filling into the crust and smooth the top.  Chill the tart until firm, about 2 hours, before serving.  It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

To serve the tart, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream with a whisk until thickened.  (DT: I used my hand mixer.)  Add the sugar and whip until the cream holds soft peaks.  Top the tart with the whipped cream.  Serve the tart cool.

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