Lemon Cream Tart

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I've been on a French kick recently.  This past Christmas I was gifted "The Art of French Classics" by Jacquy Pfeiffer.  At first glance it seemed detailed, confusing, and lengthy.  Second glance didn't get much better.  This was not the type of book you would use to whip up a batch of cookies or bake a cake for dessert tonight.  No, this book was going to require time, diligence, patience, determination, and careful reading.  

I decided to dissect this book by my favorite method: list making.  Simple and efficient.  I started employing this method when I was 13.  My mom had bought me a cake mix cookbook by Betty Crocker, and I was thrilled to have my own cookbook to go through and cook all on my own.  Most of those recipes I would shudder at now (they're not completely from scratch, haha!!), but I wanted to make everything in there.  Well, almost.  Which is where the list came in.  I wrote down every recipe I wanted to make, referencing the page numbers. When I had made a recipe, I would put a check mark by it.  Much easier to glance at one page (or two or three, there were too many recipes I wanted to make!) than to go through the book every time.  And oh so satisfying to make that little check mark. But, I am a nerd when it comes to baking, so you can take this as more of an anecdote than a recommendation.  :)

After initially being intimidated from reading “The Art of French Pastry” and applying my list method, I realized it wouldn’t be so difficult to make a lot of these recipes, after all. Some recipes, yes, which include making puff pastry, choux pastry, and various pastry creams and caramel all for one magnificent cake, but if French cuisine was easy we would all be making cream puffs, croissants, and eclairs everyday now, wouldn’t we? But to my pleasant surprise many of the recipes were quite manageable. This book helps you master some basic techniques that then become easier because you use them often for many of the recipes.

One of the simpler, but nonetheless delicious recipes from the cookbook is this Lemon Cream Tart.  Everyone should have a good lemon tart in their repertoire.  Someone once asked me, after learning I liked to bake, if I could make a good lemon tart.  I had made good lemon tarts before, but sometimes I lack confidence that even if I like something, will it live up to other people's tastes buds?  Until I find the recipe, that is.  Then I know the search is over, although I will always be open to trying new things.  I hung on to my current lemon tart recipe, but I felt like I could do better.  A recipe that would be reliable, and deliver that over-the-top creamy, lemony zing.  I think I found it in this recipe, oh yes.  

You’ll notice in my photos that the lemon tart is decorated with meringues and candied orange peels. The recipe does not include those because I feel that for the time spent making them, they don’t add significantly to the eating experience and are more for the wow factor. Don’t get me wrong, they’re yummy, but meringues do require a certain technique (mine unfortunately cracked a bit) and candying orange peel requires 10 days. So. I more than encourage you to get the book and try out those recipes yourselves, and especially the others, like the croissants, palmiers (my absolute favorite recipe from the cookbook), the brioche variations, eclairs, and I could keep going! Or, if all this seems a bit ambitious to you, gift the book to your favorite baking enthusiast and have them make them for you. :)

Recipe adapted from “The Art of French Pastry” by Jacquy Pfeiffer.


*Note:  Make the pâte sablée at least one day ahead as it needs to rest overnight in the refrigerator; two nights is ideal.    

Lemon Cream Tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

For the Pâte Sablée

  • 6 Tbsp / 97g butter

  • 1/4 tsp / 1g salt

  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp / 145g all-purpose flour

  • 3 Tbsp / 18g almond flour

  • 1/2 cup / 55g powdered sugar

  • 1/4 tsp / 1g vanilla extract

  • 2 egg yolks

For the Lemon Cream

  • 1 cup / 200g sugar

  • 5/8 cup / 140g lemon juice

  • pinch of salt

  • 3 eggs + 1 yolk

  • zest of half a lemon

  • 14 Tbsp / 192g butter, softened and cut into cubes

  • candied lemon peel, toasted nuts, or meringues for decoration, optional

Directions:

Make the Pâte Sablée (2-3 Days Ahead of time)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, sea salt, and all-purpose flour.  Mix on low until just crumbly.  Over-mixing will active gluten in flour and make for a tougher crust.  Add almond flour and powdered sugar, mixing until just combined.  Add vanilla and egg yolks on medium speed until just combined.  

  2. Scrape dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Press into a 1/2 inch rectangle and wrap airtight in the plastic.  Refrigerate overnight.  

The next day:

  1. Very lightly grease a tart pan with softened butter, just enough to keep it from sticking.  You should barely see the butter on the pan.  If it is over-greased the dough may slip down the side as it is baking.  

  2. Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap from the plastic, and place on a lightly floured surface.  For easier transportation, you can roll it out on a floured silpat or piece of parchment paper.  

  3. Tap the dough with a rolling pin to make sure it's pliable.  If at any point the dough seems too stiff or cold, or cracks as you roll it out, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes before continuing.  Roll the dough 3 times in one direction, then make a quarter turn.   Periodically check to make sure your dough isn't sticking to the surface.  If it is, use a thin spatula to peel it off and re-flour the surface underneath.  Repeat rolling 3 times and making quarter turns until you have an evenly rolled out, 1/4" thick round of dough.

  4. At this point your dough should be larger than your tart pan.  Carefully transfer the dough to the pan.  You can do this by gently wrapping the dough around the rolling pin, then unrolling it over the pan.  Press the dough into the pan, paying careful attention to the corners and being careful not to stretch or tear the dough to do so.  Use a knife to trim away any extra dough.  Refrigerate the tart shell uncovered for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.  

An hour later or the next day:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C.  

  2. Remove the crust from the fridge and dock the bottom with a fork.  (Poke holes in it.)  This will allow steam to escape evenly during baking.  

  3. Line the shell with parchment paper or cheesecloth and pie weights, dry beans, or rice.

  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and pie weights.  Bake for an additional 5-15 minutes, or until the crust begins to evenly color and turn golden.  Allow to cool.

Make the Lemon Cream

  1. In a small bowl, combine half of the sugar, lemon juice, and salt; whisk until sugar and salt have dissolved.  

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining half of sugar with egg yolks and whisk for 30 seconds.  Whisk the first lemon juice mixture into this mixture and add the zest.  

  3. Create a water bath by simmering 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Place the lemon mixture over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water; whisk constantly so the eggs don't scramble.  Attach a digital thermometer to the bowl and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 176-179.6°F / 80-82°C.  

  4. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl through a fine-meshed sieve.  Use a spatula to push mixture through the strainer, if necessary.  Transfer thermometer to the new bowl.  Allow mixture to cool to 140°F / 60°C, about 5 minutes.  

  5. At this point pour the mixture into a blender, or leave in the bowl if using an immersion blender.  Add half of the butter and blend, then add second half of the butter and blend for an additional 30 seconds or so, until mixture is completely smooth.  

  6. Pour the lemon cream into the baked crust and allow to set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.  Decorate as desired, dust with powdered sugar, or leave as is. 

Buon Appetit!

Jenny's Notes:

  • Although this recipe may seem lengthy and entailed, it's quite simple, especially if you separate it into a "crust" day and a "filling" day.  

  • The unbaked pâte sablée will keep well covered in the fridge for up to a week, or a month in the freezer.  

Jacquy Pfeiffer, The Art of French Pastry, French classics, lemon tart, Pâte Sablée, butter crust, French tart, French lemon
French
Yield: 8-12
Author:

Lemon Cream Tart

Lemony, creamy, zingy tart with a perfect butter tart crust from Jacquy Pfeiffer's "The Art of French Pastry."
prep time: 1 H & 10 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 1 H & 40 M

ingredients:

For the Pâte Sablée
  • 6 Tbsp / 97g butter
  • 1/4 tsp / 1g salt
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp / 145g all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp / 18g almond flour
  • 1/2 cup / 55g powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp / 1g vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
For the Lemon Cream
  • 1 cup / 200g sugar
  • 5/8 cup / 140g lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs + 1 yolk
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 14 Tbsp / 192g butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • candied lemon peel, toasted nuts, or meringues for decoration, optional

instructions:

How to cook Lemon Cream Tart

Make the Pâte Sablée (2-3 Days Ahead of time)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, sea salt, and all-purpose flour. Mix on low until just crumbly. Over-mixing will active gluten in flour and make for a tougher crust. Add almond flour and powdered sugar, mixing until just combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks on medium speed until just combined.
  2. Scrape dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Press into a 1/2 inch rectangle and wrap airtight in the plastic. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day:
  1. Very lightly grease a tart pan with softened butter, just enough to keep it from sticking. You should barely see the butter on the pan. If it is over-greased the dough may slip down the side as it is baking.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge, unwrap from the plastic, and place on a lightly floured surface. For easier transportation, you can roll it out on a floured silpat or piece of parchment paper.
  3. Tap the dough with a rolling pin to make sure it's pliable. If at any point the dough seems too stiff or cold, or cracks as you roll it out, let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes before continuing. Roll the dough 3 times in one direction, then make a quarter turn. Periodically check to make sure your dough isn't sticking to the surface. If it is, use a thin spatula to peel it off and re-flour the surface underneath. Repeat rolling 3 times and making quarter turns until you have an evenly rolled out, 1/4" thick round of dough.
  4. At this point your dough should be larger than your tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. You can do this by gently wrapping the dough around the rolling pin, then unrolling it over the pan. Press the dough into the pan, paying careful attention to the corners and being careful not to stretch or tear the dough to do so. Use a knife to trim away any extra dough. Refrigerate the tart shell uncovered for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.
An hour later or the next day:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F / 160°C.
  2. Remove the crust from the fridge and dock the bottom with a fork. (Poke holes in it.) This will allow steam to escape evenly during baking.
  3. Line the shell with parchment paper or cheesecloth and pie weights, dry beans, or rice.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for an additional 5-15 minutes, or until the crust begins to evenly color and turn golden. Allow to cool.
Make the Lemon Cream
  1. In a small bowl, combine half of the sugar, lemon juice, and salt; whisk until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining half of sugar with egg yolks and whisk for 30 seconds. Whisk the first lemon juice mixture into this mixture and add the zest.
  3. Create a water bath by simmering 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Place the lemon mixture over the saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water; whisk constantly so the eggs don't scramble. Attach a digital thermometer to the bowl and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 176-179.6°F / 80-82°C.
  4. Remove from the heat and strain into a bowl through a fine-meshed sieve. Use a spatula to push mixture through the strainer, if necessary. Transfer thermometer to the new bowl. Allow mixture to cool to 140°F / 60°C, about 5 minutes.
  5. At this point pour the mixture into a blender, or leave in the bowl if using an immersion blender. Add half of the butter and blend, then add second half of the butter and blend for an additional 30 seconds or so, until mixture is completely smooth.
  6. Pour the lemon cream into the baked crust and allow to set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Decorate as desired, dust with powdered sugar, or leave as is.

NOTES:

Although this recipe may seem lengthy and entailed, it's quite simple, especially if you separate it into a "crust" day and a "filling" day. The unbaked pâte sablée will keep well covered in the fridge for up to a week, or a month in the freezer.

Calories

511.91

Fat (grams)

34.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

19.79

Carbs (grams)

47.48

Fiber (grams)

0.89

Net carbs

46.58

Sugar (grams)

32.22

Protein (grams)

6.01

Sodium (milligrams)

331.90

Cholesterol (grams)

211.17
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 8 servings and does not include toppings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4714.jpg

White Russian Tart

Mmmmm I love me a White Russian.  Or a Black Russian.  Or you can just give me the Kahlua.  But you know what I love more?  This tart.  Not to mention it is raw, gluten-free, refined-sugar free, and somehow delicious.  Nah I'm just kidding, there a lot of really delicious healthier desserts and foods out there, but the ones that aren't so much tend to get the attention and give the above labels a bad rap. 

When I'm experimenting and trying new recipes in the "healthy" department (as defined by trying to limit refined-sugars or flours, using a vegetable or bean or something that doesn't normally go in that there fudge brownie) I look for the 3 different categories of reactions from my tasters.  I tend to like some very strange things so I can't always judge by whether I like it or not...  Unsweetened cocoa powder by the spoonful, anyone??

  1. The category of "This is honest deliciousness."  When people ask for a recipe or have no idea that there are chickpeas or spinach powder hidden in what they're eating.  Something a normal or even picky eater would eat. 
  2. The category of "It's good for a healthy dessert!"  So it's palatable and they're not gagging, but most would still take a slice of cheesecake over it.  
  3. The category of "I would rather just eat a salad."  If I'm tempted to remedy the taste by adding cups and cups of maple syrup, then when that isn't strong enough, real sugar, it's probably beyond saving.  I know it's bad if I don't even like it.  No worries, those recipes won't come anywhere near this blog. 

This tart is a solid category 1.  Even my mom and brother approved this, and they keep me pretty honest when it comes to healthy desserts. 

I bounce back and forth between decadent desserts and healthier desserts.  I have a love and respect for both, and each have their place and time.  Some days it's honey, nuts, and coconut oil, and other days it's sugar, heavy whipping cream, and butter.  Variety is the spice of life.  Today, it's dates, avocado, and mascarpone.

White Russian Tart

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 8-10 dates
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Vodka Cream

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (virgin, unrefined)
  • 1 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vodka
  • 1 tsp rum or Kahlua (of course the Kahlua option adds sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Mascarpone Cream

  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Make the Crust

In a food processor, combine almonds and coconut and pulse until small crumbles.  Add dates, vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt.  Process until well combined. 

Press into the bottom of a 8 or 9 inch spring-form pan or pie plate.

Make the Chocolate Vodka Cream

Heat coconut oil in small pan over low heat until liquefied.  Combine the melted coconut oil, coffee, avocado, cocoa powder, vodka, rum or Kahlua, and maple syrup in a food processor until smooth.  Stop and scrape down sides and bottom occasionally.  Spread over crust and place in freezer for about 30 minutes.

Make the Mascarpone Cream

Shortly before taking tart out of the freezer, combine mascarpone, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Take the tart out of the freezer and spread mascarpone mixture over it.  Place in fridge for about 2 hours before serving.   

Jenny's Notes:

This tart is not very sweet and really lets the mascarpone shine through.  However, if you or your guests prefer things a little on the sweeter side, feel free to add more maple syrup in either of the creams. 

Also, I like to use black cocoa powder in this recipe.  Sounds ghastly, but it's the stuff of Oreos.  (I didn't know the flavor of Oreo was supposed to be chocolate until I was an adult, but they get their unique flavor from black cocoa.)  If you can get your hands on it, it's really great.  I usually order it from Amazon. 

Adapted from The Clean Dish