French Pastry Week // Tarte au Citron // Lemon Tart

Welcome to Pastry Week!  Every day this week, there will be a new recipe for a classic French pastry or dessert, and we're kicking it off with one of the simplest, yet most fabulous of them all -- Tarte au Citron.

This tart is not for the faint of lemon-heart.  If you think that lemon desserts should have only a hint of citrus tang, then it probably won't be your cup of tea.  But should your idea of the perfect dessert being pure, unadulterated lemon to brighten your tastebuds, slap a smile on your face, and ROCK YOUR WORLD (sorry for yelling), then this is the dessert of your dreams.

You don't really need much to satisfy and it's not got a ton of sugar, so it keeps the diet happy(ish?).  It's a versatile bake- essentially lemon curd baked in a tart shell, so it has a feeling of refinement and would be perfect with a cup of tea.  But you could also take it to a party and let the good times roll, no crooked pinkies required.  

For the tart crust, I used this recipe and thought it was just kind of... meh.  I can't believe I'm saying this about a recipe David Lebovitz shared (total fangirl here), but it cracked far too much and didn't really have any flavor. Maybe it's the difference between French and American flours?  But I made up for it with his lemon filling recipe, and it was perfection.  Just enough sugar to not set your teeth on edge, enough egg to thicken it pleasantly, and freshly squeezed lemon juice to deliver pure lemon perfection.

P.S. If I was making it again, I would probably make this crust.  Fancy that, I've made it before!

Tarte au Citron // Lemon Tart

Yields one 9 inch tart
Original filling recipe by David Lebovitz

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Grated zest of two lemons
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Prebaked 9 inch tart shell

Preheat oven to 375 F, and place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl.  

Combine the first five ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted.  Then whisk constantly until the mixture has come to a gentle boil and thickened.  The original directions said that it should only take a few minutes, but mine took somewhere between 15 and 20.  Continue cooking until mixture is about the consistency of pudding.

Pour it through the mesh strainer and into the bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the mixture through.  Pour strained lemon curd into the tart shell and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the filling has set.

Tarte au Citron can be made a day ahead and keeps beautifully in the refrigerator.  Serve chilled.

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