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Our Favorite Lemon Tart

February 02, 2022

Our Favorite Lemon Tart

This recipe owes a huge debt of gratitude to Patricia Wells and The Paris Cookbook.  We picked up a copy a number of years ago and immediately knew it would be the book we'd be consulting any time we were craving a French bistro-style meal.  Her recipes check all our boxes:  French authenticity, an approachable style, and great back-stories.  We're so enthusiastic about the book in fact that we sell out-of-print copies on this website.

This sunny lemon tart uses a shell made with almond flour instead of the classic Pâte Brisée...not only do we prefer its flavor for this recipe, but love how wafer thin it can be rolled out with minimal shrinkage on the blind bake.  Two secrets to a beautiful tart: combining the ingredients at each stage until just blended, and sieving the egg mixture into the shell.  Doing both ensures a velvety smooth tart with no bubbles or foam from over-mixing.

Some fresh lemon thyme sprinkled at the end gives this tart a south-of-France vibe.

For the Shell:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3 Tb sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tb (1 stick) cold butter
  • 2 large egg yolks

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Grate in the cold butter with a box or hand grater, and mix with fingers until the dough is the consistency of rough crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and mix with a fork, then knead in the bowl to combine.  Turn the dough out on a board and knead until the dough comes together.  Divide the dough in half, form into flattened balls, cover with cling wrap, and refrigerate one portion for 20 minutes.  (The spare can be frozen and used for up to 1 month)

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter a 9 1/2 inch removable bottom tart pan.

Roll out the refrigerated dough between two pieces of cling wrap or parchment paper.  When you've reached the desired size and thickness, peel one side of the cling wrap away, flip the dough, and turn out onto the tart pan.  Press the dough into place on the remaining cling wrap side, then peel back.  Trim off the overhanging dough.  Chill in a freezer for 20 minutes.

Blind bake the shell for 10 minutes to set.  Remove foil and weights and continue baking until the shell is light golden brown...another 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 3 lemons (approx 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until just blended.  Whisk in the lemon juice.  Add the créme fraiche and whisk until just blended.

Sieve the egg mixture into the pre-baked shell.  (Hint:  Have the shell on a baking sheet...the easier to maneuver the very full tart into the oven!)

Bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is just set.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

 





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