Monday, April 7, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Lemon Cream Tart


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
4 eggs
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.


Mary Ann said...

Looks great and the cupcake variation sound yummy as well!

Marie said...

Your tart looks fabulous and I love the idea of a cupcake variation! Wonderful!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

How pretty! Wish I'd saved some of that lemon cream for cupcakes ... Good idea.


The Frosted Bake Shop said...

glad you were able to salvage some tarts. using the cream in cupcakes is a great idea.

LyB said...

I know what you mean about the tart dough, I used some water in it to make it hold together. Great idea using the leftover cream as frosting for cupcakes though!

Annemarie said...

Your tart looks wonderful. Sorry about the tart shells that didn't make it...that is so frustrating!

Heather said...

yum! Your tart looks wonderful! Great idea with the cupcakes.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

The lemon cream is just fabulous! I'm eating it on toast as I type this!

mimi said...

never ignore your gut! but your tart looks really yummy and i love the idea about the cupcakes!

Carrie said...

Sorry your shells fell apart!
At least you found a way to use the left-over cream. Great idea!

CB said...

Love the cupcake idea! I totally have to steal! :) Great job.
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Bridget said...

Ah, I wouldn't have minded having extra cream. As good as the tart crust was, it just got in the way of the lemon!

cruisingkitty said...

Looks wonderfully delicious! I had to use an extra Tbsp water to make my dough stick together too. MMMMM...cupcakes!

Di said...

I'm sorry to hear that your tart shells didn't cooperate. Glad to hear that you found another good use for the extra lemon cream--I bet it was great with strawberry.

Tara said...

great job on your tart this week! i would love to see how your cupcakes turned out too. :)

Madam Chow said...

At least you got two tarts and some cupcakes out of it!
Madam Chow

Sarah said...

Great job! And the cupcake idea sounds super tasty!

Melissa said...

One of my tart shells fell apart too. Definitely needed some extra moisture.

Dolores said...

I love the idea of strawberry cupcakes with lemon-cream frosting! :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful way to use the cream as a cupcake frosting - Fun! Too bad the crusts and tarts didn't exactly work out.

Jhianna said...

Mmmm.... lemon cream as frosting! Your tart looks great :)

Anne said...

Lemon frosting sounds AMAZING! I had the same problem with the crust... didn't want to ruin it and mine definitely needed the water! Next time, right? Looks pretty though!

eatme_delicious said...

Yum looks delicious!