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lemon tart

This Christmas eve we held dinner at our house and I was put in charge of the desserts of course. A friend of mine helped write this cookbook called Fanny in France and I decided to use one of the recipes in there. He made this lemon tart for one dinner before and I enjoyed it so much I had to make it for my family. I have made crusts before just by cutting the butter into flour and then adding some liquid to shape into a dough. This dough was different, it was almost like making cookies because first you cream together butter and sugar and egg and (vanilla?). The crust came out great and it was perfect, both flaky and buttery. Not only did I make this lemon dessert because I knew my dad only likes lemon, but I also made a flourless chocolate cake for the normal people in my family. You know you always have to satisfy everyone. Anyway if you love lemon tarts or even lemon bars I am sure you will love this recipe and everyone else will gladly go for a slice.

What you need: Makes one 11-inch tart (12 servings)

For the crust or pâte sucrée:

  • 8 tbs unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the curd:

  • 8 lemons

  • 4 eggs

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 4 tbs. milk

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 12 tbs. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces

To make the pâte sucrée:

Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and mix until completely combined. Add the flour and mix until there are no dry patches. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and press into a 4-inch disk. Chill several hours or overnight until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Remove the ball of dough from the refrigerator ten mixtures before rolling it out. Cut two 14-inch-square pieces of parchment paper and sprinkle each one lightly with flour. Unwrap the dough and place it in the center of one of the floured parchments. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover it with the other parchment paper. Roll out the dough between the papers into a 13-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. If the dough sticks while you are rolling, peel back the parchment, dust again with flour, and replace the paper. I find it helps to flip over the parchment-wrapped disk midway thought rolling. If excess flour remains after you are don't rolling, peel back the paper and brush it off. Transfer the dough to a flat baking sheet and refrigerate for a few minutes to firm up.

To fill an 11-inch tart pan, remove the top sheet of parchment and flip the dough over, dropping the dough into the tart pan with the the paperless side down. Peel of the remaining piece of parchment and then press the dough into all the corners and the fluted rim of the pan. Pinch off any excess dough hanging over the sides. If there are any cracks or gaps in the dough, less scraps into them to fill them in. Let the pâte sucrée rest in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

Transfer the pâte sucrée directly from the freezer to the preheated oven. Bake until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Check the tart shell halfway through baking. If you see any bubbles making the dough rise pat them down with a metal spatula. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool before filling with the lemon curd.

To make the lemon curd:

Grate the zest of 2 of the lemons and set aside. Juice all the lemons, or as many as it takes to yield 1 cup of strained juice.

lemon everything! zest and juice

In a medium-size bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, milk, sugar, and salt until just mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and add the pieces of butter.

the curd with little pieces of butter before cooking over stovetop

Transfer to a heavy nonreactive saucepan. (stainless steel, enameled cast iron, glass, ceramic, and well-seasoned cast-iron are all nonreactive). Heat over medium heat for several minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the spoon. Be careful not to let it boil or the eggs will curdle. When the mixture had thickened, turn off the hear. Place a strainer over the stainless-steel, ceramic, or glass bowl, and pour the warm lemon curd through the strainer to remove any lumps. Cover with plastic wrap. If not using within 1 hour, refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble:

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Make sure the preached tart shell has cooled, then fill it with the lemon curd. Smooth out the lemon curd with a spatula and bake until the lemon curd is set, 15-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

pouring the curd into the half baked crust

recipe from: Fanny in France

Martine's Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart)

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