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I'm Jonathan Stiers (pronounced Styers). Join me as I share my adventures in food, design, entertaining and travel. I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration!

French Lemon Tart

French Lemon Tart

French cooking really is an art. And when everything comes together, it's definitely worth the effort. Making this beautiful "work of tart," was no easy task. Luckily with the help of a baking-savy friend and 4 crusts later, the beauty above was born. It's not that this is a difficult recipe, it's simply that pastry dough can be super finicky! The first two were a little on the dry side and while adding a little water helped (you can do this a teaspoon at a time until your dough no longer cracks), they simply didn't look as beautiful as I wanted.

SO - after a couple of bottles of wine, some sleep and a second trip to the market, it was time to give it another go. I learned that you need to be mindful of your flour measurements, don't pack it and don't over work your dough.

Once the dough came together, the lemon curd is a piece of cake, or a piece of lemon tart in this case. Store bought pie/tart crust is obviously acceptable, but it doesn't come with the sense of accomplishment that making from scratch, brings. Either way, if you love lemon, you will LOVE this tart. I'd share but I'm not sure how long this is going to last, before I devour it all.

Ingredients: (Serves 8)

Sweet Tart Dough (NOTE: dough ingredients makes 2 tarts):

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter (usually 2 sticks)

Lemon Curd (NOTE: ingredients below enough for 1 tart):

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 5oz., cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions (Dough):

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the cream and egg yolks together.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Cut the butter into small, half-inch pieces and add the to flour mixture.
  4. Using your hands, toss to coat the butter with the flour. Use your fingertips to combine the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. (Be careful not to overwork the dough as it will make the dough tough.) 
  5. Add the heavy cream and egg yolk mixture and toss gently with a fork to incorporate. (You can use your hands to continue to combine the ingredients, being careful not to overwork the dough. When the dough is ready, you should be able to take a small handful and squeeze it together. It if holds together, the dough is ready. If not, add more cream to reach the right consistency.
  6. When dough is ready, divide in two and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the plastic wrap around the dough to form a pouch. Twist and push down to form a flat disk.
  7. Chill the dough for at least an hour or, ideally, overnight.
  8. To make the tart shell, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll until a 1/4 inch thick, flouring as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. (Be sure to maintain a circular shape while rolling out the dough. You want your dough to be 2-3 inches wider than your tart pan.)
  9. Gather the dough at one end onto a rolling pin and gently lift it onto the tart pan. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. (I used these from Williams-Sonoma) If you're using non-stick pans, brush with melted butter and lightly coat pans with flour.
  10. Gently fit the dough loosely into the tart pan, being mindful not to stretch the dough. To remove the excess dough, you use your thumb to gently scrape along the sides of the tart pan to create a nice, clean edge to the dough.
  11. Place in the freezer until firm, about 15-20 minutes.
  12. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  13. Remove tart pans from freezer and prick the bottom with a fork. Line with a parchment paper circle and fill the lined tarts shell with beans.
  14. Bake 15 minutes until the sides are set.
  15. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake 12-15 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Set aside and let cool completely.

Directions (Lemon Curd):

  1. In a large saucepan, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar and lemon juice together and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the lemon curd had thickened and coats the back of the spoon.

  2. Removed the lemon curd from the heat and strain using a sieve into a clean bowl.

  3. Add the butter pieces a little at a time, stirring until melted and incorporate completely.

  4. Season with a pinch of salt. Let the curd cool for about 5 minutes or so then strain into the prepared tart shell. Chill the tart until set, about 1 hour.

  5. Serve immediately. 

Photos by Jonathan Stiers ©2016 | Recipe from The Cook's Atelier

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