Monday, April 26, 2010

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

For this weeks BWD: Baking with Dorie Challenge, it was Elizabeth's first pick and she decided on The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart on Page 331 and 332 in Dorie Greenspan's book

Since I've proclaimed my love for anything citrus a few times already on this blog, I was certainly excited about making it again, yes again. When I first ordered this book and it arrived over a year ago this was one of the first recipes I made. At that time I made a few notes about the tart and stuck it next to the recipe for future use.

This tart is certainly not for the faint of heart. Between the tart crust and the lemon filling, the recipe calls for a whopping 30 tablespoons of butter!!! So most definitely not a diet food, but like everything in life, if you make it only once or twice a year and have a small piece it will fit into any lifestyle.

The Lemon Cream Tart is what lemon dreams are made out of. It has crunch from the crust, tartness from the lemon and is beyond creamy from all that butter.

I started making this tart by baking the crust. Dorie suggest either her regular sweet tart dough or any variation of it. I decided to add pistachios to mine since it sounded good in combination with the lemon. In true fashion, this tart wasn't going to be my friend either. For some reason it browned quicker than my last few and almost burned. But since at this point the crust was still intact I wasn't going to bake it again. I should have known better since as soon as I placed my filling into this wonderful light and crumbly tart shell two pieces broke of the sides.

Secondly, I started working on my lemon curd. It starts by rubbing sugar with lemon zest until moist and fragrant. Into this you whisk eggs and the lemon juice. The mixture is then put over a double boiler. No matter how hard I tried the first time I made this, or even the second time, I could not get the curd to read 180 degrees F on my instant read thermometer as Dorie's recipe recommends. 160 degrees was as high as it would go and since my curd was thick and leaving tracks (another sign), I called it a day yet again and took it off the stove. Her next step is to strain the curd through a strainer and into your blender bowl, discarding the remaining lemon zest. This was another step I skipped. I love the way lemon zest adds little specks of color in a food plus my curd was nice and smooth so I figured no straining required to dirty another dish.

After letting the lemon mixture cool for a bit, you start blending in the pieces of butter. The first time I made it I used all the butter called for in the recipe, and while the flavor was OK, the family agreed the butter was too overwhelming. So this time I kept tasting after every 5 pieces and stopped at 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) of butter. Much better flavor, and the lemon was still the star in this dish.

I mentioned my crust started breaking as soon as the filling went in. I knew I had to do something to save this tart, at least for a picture opportunity. Looking through my fridge I found some cream cheese and thought that some cream cheese frosting should do the trick. So a quick frosting was whipped up and piped along the sides to contain the "leaks" and then I decided to add a quick little piping around the edges which helped disguise some of the darker edges of the crust.

I really liked this tart since it was mighty tasty and I will probably make it again sometime if I have guests, but for casual get togethers or family occasions, I will probably stick with simple lemon bars or lemon meringue pie since I really can't justify eating this much butter all the time.

Check out Elizabeth's blog and Grapefruit's blog for the recipe and to see what they thought about this Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.

For our next BWD in two weeks (the 10th of May) it is Elizabeth's pick again with Hidden Berry Cream Cheese Torte on Page 240-242. So if any of this has peeked your interest and you want to join the fun with us next time, just shoot me or Grapefruit an email and we'd be more than happy to have you.


  1. Thumbs up! I can't tell that the crust broke anywhere & it was really smart to disguise any flaws with the cream cheese.
    Your tart looks lovely. I love the yellow tray/fabric your plate is sitting on.

  2. I think this looks wonderful. The butter is a bit horrifying, but I do love butter. Still, I think I may pass on making this one.

    I, like you, never strain out my zest. I love zest.

    I'm wondering what the tart looked like when you cut it? Were you able to gt a decent shot of the inside?

  3. That is indeed an extraordinary recipe. Congratulations on your beautiful finished tart.

  4. Thanks for all the nice comments!

    mw - unfortunately I never got a shot of the cut tart. Every time I tried another piece broke off. It was so frustrating especially when you are trying to take a picture. I finally gave up and used the pictures I had but even those I'm not excited about.

  5. NOT AgAiN!!!
    You and your lemon treats... You are Killing me Susi. :-{)

  6. OMG This looks too delicious and the way you decorated with those rosettes is really beautiful. Wish I had a slice right now.

  7. I love anything citrusy too!! i love the way your tart looks and fell in love at first sight.. UNTIL i saw how much butter it requires!! oh my!! need to carefully find that 'once a year' slot for this sinful treat!! :-)

  8. yum this looks delightful!!!


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