This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Mary of Starting from Scratch. Mary chose The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.
We were given the option of either doing this tart or Dorie's Fresh Orange Cream Tart. I had originally planned on doing the orange tart since I just made a lemon meringue pie for the Daring Bakers a few months ago, but after looking over the ingredients I decided I'd prefer the lemon.
It really wasn't a difficult recipe, but two of my tart shells fell apart anyway. As I was making the crust I knew it needed some moisture but I was too scared of screwing it up so I ignored my gut.
My lemon cream came together perfectly. It never got to Dorie's suggested temperature of 180 but it still thickened up beautifully and tasted great. And since two of my tart shells were ruined, I was able to make some strawberry cupcakes for the husband and use the lemon cream as a frosting. He seemed to enjoy that as much as the tarts themselves.
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
For the crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick + 1 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
For the lemon cream
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
2 sticks + 5 tbsp (10.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
For the crust:
To make the crust, put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is coarse, around the size of oatmeal and/or peas. Add the egg yolk a little at a time, pulsing after each addition and then processing in 10-second pulses once the whole egg has been added until the dough forms clumps. Turn the dough onto a flat work surface and lightly knead the dough until all dry ingredients are just incorporated. Butter a 9 inch fluted removable-bottom tart pan. Press the dough into the pan evenly. Freeze for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit it tightly against the crust. Bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil, and press the dough down gently if it has puffed using the back of a spoon. Return it to the oven for another 8 minutes, or until it is beautifully golden brown.
For the cream:
Before you start the lemon cream, have a candy thermometer, a strainer and a blender at hand.
Simmer a little water in a saucepan. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl. Off the heat, rub the mixture together with your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice. Set the bowl over the pan of water and whisk continuously until it reaches 180°F. As it gets close to temperature it will start to thicken. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient!
Remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the blender. Discard any solids. Let the cream stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, or until it cools to 140°F. Turn the blender on high, and add the butter a few pieces at a time.
Scrape down the sides to incorporate the butter. Keep the machine on for 3-5 minutes once the butter is in to ensure a perfect lemon cream. Pour into an air-tight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (it will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days).
When you are ready to assemble the tart, whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell.
Serve the tart or refrigerate as needed.