lemon tart

from lisa huang '02

Commentary from Monsieur Geroges Perrier (please read in heavily accented English): This lightest of lemon fillings makes a superb tart. My customers make sure I never take this dessert off my cart. Blah, blah.

Lisa says (please revert to normal English): This makes enough for one normal-sized tart plus about six baby ones made in little muffin tins.

The pastry shell:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 C cake flour[1]
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well combined. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour by hand, until no flour streaks remain. Wrap the pastry dough in plastic wrap, forming it into a flat block, then refrigerate 1-2 hours or until firm. To roll out the pastry, lightly dust the counter, dough, and the rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough, using as little additional flour as possible (more flour makes the dough tough).

Preparing the pastry shells: Cut out a 10-inch circle. Lay it into an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the edges so they are even to the edge of the pan. Chill 1 hour. (Do the same for the little ones, I guess.)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line the tart shell with heavy-duty foil filled with dried beans. (Maybe prick the bottom with a fork at this point.) Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake until light golden, pricking the bottom with a fork if it bubbles up. Let cool to room temperature.

The lemon filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 C sugar
  • juice of 6 lemons (Lisa says only 3 -- to equal maybe around 3/4 C juice)
  • grated zest (the yellow part of the peel) of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In a medium stainless steel or enamel pan over medium heat, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Whisk until light and the whisk leaves tracks in the foam (it will change consistency). Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Pour the filling into the prebaked shells. Chill before serving. Garnish as desired.

[1] If you have no cake flour, use normal flour, but subtract 2 T for every 1 C of normal flour. So, 1 1/2 C cake flour = 1 1/2 C minus 3 T.