My love for all things lemon dates back to when my Grandma was the chief baker in the family. Almost every get together ended with one of her fantastic cakes or pies, my all-time favorite being her lemon pie, which was topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream rather than meringue. Though she has since stepped down from her baking post, I still fantasize about Grandma’s lemon pie and have never really cared for any of the other lemon pies I’ve tried over the years. That is, until I discovered Tartine.
If you live in or near San Francisco, you’ve likely been to Tartine Bakery and have fallen in love. What’s not to love about their buttery croissants (especially the ham and cheese), selection of quiches and their to die for pastries? Naturally, one of my favorites is their lemon cream tart, which manages to be silky and decadent but not at all overwhelming. It is perfection.
I added the Tartine cookbook to my collection a few months back and have had the lemon cream tart bookmarked, waiting for an excuse to recreate it in my own kitchen. This past weekend I was finally presented with that opportunity and had planned to make the tart for a holiday party hosted by my dear friend/favorite hairstylist. But alas, things went awry in the kitchen that day (two crusts destroyed!) and I was forced to leave my dessert behind. Being that I had already prepared the lemon cream filling, I resumed my crust making the following day and was victorious. The tart was just as it is at the bakery… c’est magnifique!
meyer lemon cream tart
makes one 9 inch tart
adapted from Tartine
Pâte Sablée (sweet tart dough)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Combine the sugar, salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least two hours before use.
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (any fresh lemon juice will suffice)
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cool and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
In a non-reactive bowl combine the lemon juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture becomes very thick and pale and registers 180°F on a thermometer. Remove from heat and let cool to 140°F. Using an immersion blender or countertop blender, add the butter one piece at a time and blend until each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next.
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
candied lemon zest for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Cut out a circle that is 2 inches larger than your pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and gently press into place. Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink while baking. Trim the excess dough with a sharp knife or scissors and place pastry shell in the refrigerator until firm, about 20 minutes. Dock the bottom of the tart shell with a fork and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 12-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
When tart shell is completely cooled, pour lemon cream into shell and shake gently to smooth the filling. Chill before serving, about two hours or until cream is firm.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream until thick. Add the sugar until soft peaks form. Top the tart with whipped cream and garnish with candied lemon zest. Serve chilled.