Tuesday, December 18, 2012

French Lemon Cream Tart

When I came across this recipe by Dorie Greenspan I couldn't wait to get into the kitchen and start baking. Ever since I first made lemon curd I was amazed at how a few simple ingredients could be transformed into something so delicious. But of course, Dorie Greenspan, with some help from Pierre Hermé, took lemon curd to the next level. Instead of adding the butter at the beginning you first cook the lemon curd then pour it into a food processor, or blender, and slowly add the butter. By emulsifying the butter it turns the lemon curd into an amazingly creamy taste and texture. Wow. Move over lemon curd, this new method is taking your place. Top a crispy baked tart shell with this creamy lemon curd along with some whipped cream and I am amazed. This is a recipe that you have to try.

Tart Shell or pâte sablée
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp salt
9 tbsp frozen (or very cold) unsalted butter, cut into tbsp
1 egg yolk

1) Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times to mix them together, then add the butter, being careful not to over process the dough, you want it to be sandy and have visible pieces of butter. The pulse in the egg yolk slowly then pulse for 10 seconds until everything is combined.
2) The dough will be very loose and you will have to work it together with your hands to form the dough, just be careful not to over-knead the dough.
3) Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan and then press the dough into the pan, working up the sides to make sure the dough is evenly dispersed. If you have extra save some to fill in cracks if necessary after baking.
4) Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes
5) Butter the shiny side of some foil and press it against the tart shell then bake in a 375 F oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 8 minutes, you can bake it slightly longer, just be careful that it doesn't burn.
6) Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack until completely cool before filling with desired filling.

French Lemon Cream Tart
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 cup sugar
Zest from 3 lemons
4 eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tbsp (room temperature)

1 fully baked tart shell

You will need a thermometer for this recipe

1) Add the lemon zest to the sugar and combine these ingredients to make a lemony sugar, rubbing the lemon oils into the sugar. Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice and place them in a double boiler over simmering water.

2) Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it reaches 180 F, it will thicken while it cooks, just keep whisking, this can take about 10 minutes
3) Once the mixture reaches 180 F take it off of the heat and pour it through a sieve, to remove the zest, into a food processor or blender and let cool to 140 F, then turn the machine on and slowly add the butter, about 5 tbsp at a time, you may have to scrape the sides down a couple times
4) After the butter is incorporated let the machine run for about 3 minutes to fully emulsify the butter and lemon mixture together

5) Pour the lemon cream into a container and press with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours (this will keep in the fridge for 4 days). Just make sure it is airtight

6) Once the lemon cream is cooled you can then pour it into the cooled tart and let it set up for a few minutes. I like to add freshly whipped cream on top. Then slice and serve and enjoy!

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