I never used to care for lemony things until I had lemon curd. Real lemon curd. You know what I’m talking about, right? The kind with tartness that made your cheeks ache ever so pleasantly, your lips pucker and left you with a wonderful, lingering taste of buttery goodness and fresh lemon on your oh-so-thankful tastebuds? Oh yes, that’s the one.
If you like fresh, tangy lemon desserts then I think you will love this tart as dearly as I do. The delicate pate sucrée cradling silken, zingy, lemony custard; this is a classic tarte au citron.
LEMON CURD – makes one 8” or 9” tart
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 100 milliliters freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 200 grams butter, cubed and chilled
In the top of a double boiler combine well all ingredients except the butter.
Place over simmering water (not at a full boil) and whisk often – taking care to get the sides and bottom – until the curd becomes the consistency of thick hollandaise sauce.
Remove from heat and strain the curd at this point (or you can leave it unstrained if you like the added texture of the bits of lemon zest).
While the lemon curd is still hot, briskly whisk in the butter a couple cubes at a time until it’s all incorporated and curd is no longer giving off steam.
Line a half-sheet pan with plastic wrap making sure it hangs at least an inch over the sides and is long enough to double over the top. Transfer the curd into the pan, fold the plastic wrap over to cover, smoothing directly over the surface to prevent a skin forming and place in the fridge until chilled to room temp, about an hour (you want it still of a pourable consistency).
Meanwhile you can make your tart shell! This is a basic pate sucrée dough. If you already have a sweet tart dough you love, by all means use it here.
PATE SUCREE – makes one 8″ or 9″ tart
- 65 grams powdered sugar
- 125 grams butter
- 2 eggs
- 250 grams cake flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth but not fluffy
Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated
Mix in the dry ingredients taking care not to overwork the dough
Chill for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 days)
Roll out 1/8” thin and line an 8” or 9” tart pan or ring and chill well
Line with parchment, fill with pie weights or dry beans and blind bake until barely light brown and parchment can be removed easily. Remove parchment and weights or beans and return the crust to oven until evenly golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Remove the outer part of the tart pan from the crust keeping it on the metal disc for stability.
Fill your tart shell with the partially chilled lemon curd and jiggle gently to get the filling smooth and even. Return to the fridge and chill until curd is fully set, about 2 hours or so.
Serve chilled, plain and simple, or if you’re feeling a little on the fancy side, decorate with some meringue or whipped cream and candied lemon peel. This is killer for an afternoon snack with a strong black tea…or for dessert of course. Heck, even enjoy it for breakfast! I won’t tell a soul.