French Lemon Cream Tart

I love curds.  With scones, in cakes, anywhere.  I’ve made it with limes, lemons, cranberries, strawberries, and rapsberries.  But this puts all lemon curds to shame.  It is like lemon curd whipped to pure satiny, buttery, lemony heights like unlike ever before.
You just won’t understand until you try it.  I have a big love for all things citrus… especially things with lemon zest, one of my favorite ingredients.  (And I have a stash of bald lemons in my fridge at any given time to prove it!)
While this is a very rich and buttery dessert, it is also very light and citrusy (is citrusy a word?)  so it works well for spring and summer.
You can pair it with some fresh berries if you really want to make a presentation as well.


For the Lemon Cream:
1 cup sugar
grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 1/2 oz (2 sticks plus 5 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Put a pot of water on and get it simmering, and set a heatproof bowl on top, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
With the bowl off the heat, put the sugar and lemon zest in and rub with your fingers until fragrant and sugar becomes moist.
Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.
Set bowl back on top of water and start whisking as soon as it is warm.
Leaving a thermometer in the mixture and whisking constantly, heat to 180 degrees.  This should take about 10 minutes.  It will start out light and foamy, and then become thicker.

At 180 degrees, remove from the heat and strain into a blender.  Discard the strained zest.  Let cream cool to 140 degrees (stirring occasionally), which should take about 10 minutes.
With blender on high, add the butter in tablespoon sized pieces, about 5 at a time. After all the butter is added, blend for another 3 minutes.
(If your machine needs it, give it a break every minute).

The cream should be light in color and very silky, buttery, and velvety.
Pour into a container and press a pleace of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream and chill at least 4 hours or longer.
Keeps in the fridge for 4 days, or you can freeze for up to 2 months, just thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

For Sweet Tart Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 T unsalted butter, very cold or frozen
1 large egg yolk

Combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Cut butter in small pieces and scatter on top.  Pulse until butter is size of peas or so.
Add the egg yolk, and pulse for 10 seconds at a time until dough starts to pull together.  Knead dough by hand sparingly to bring together.
Butter a 9 inch tart pan and press dough evenly over the bottom and up sides of pan, being careful not to press too hard.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes or more before baking.
Bake for 30-38 minutes at 375 degrees, then cool to room temperature.
VARIATION: Press dough into individual tart pans or mini muffin tins for individual tarts.  Bake for less time, depends on size of tin as to how long.  Usually start checking around 15 minutes.

Recipe Source: Baking from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan

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  1. Dolores says:

    These were so wonderful at your Spring Tea!!!
    You mentioned adding egg to the mixture for the lemon cream, but I didn’t see eggs in the ingredients so how many do we need?. Not sure I’m brave enough to try making these tarts, but will always have the lovely memory of eating one made by you 😉

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