As I mentioned in a recent post on fresh fruit tarts, I had a blind-baked pâte brisée shell in my freezer just waiting to be filled. I was thinking lemon.
Before the Christmas holidays I had purchased a bunch of Meyer lemons, regular lemons and limes to use as table decor as well as to have on hand for baking. Since I had way more fruit on hand than I would use up efficiently, I proceeded to zest it, freeze the zest, juice the whole lot and freeze the juice too. Always on the prowl for the perfect lemon tart, I tried to track down the recipe for Jacques Genin's famous tarte au citron. I found a couple of recipe versions online as well as a video of Jacques himself preparing said tarte. Unfortunately the video did NOT include the specific ingredient portions. Oh well.
Update! I subsequently got my hands on his book on lemon tarts compliments of a student who was in one of my classes at Sur La Table. It’s small, in French and includes many versions of citrus tart. It’s great! But alas very difficult to get one’s hands on in the USA.
While his tart is made with limes, I opted for a lemon-lime combo. I already had my blind-baked crust.
The lemon-lime filling is made with 3 large eggs, 170 grams sugar, 180 ml juice (half lemon, half lime for me), zest of 6 fruits (Meyer lemon, lemon and lime combo for me) and 200 grams butter.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in a saucepan, add the zest and juice and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and is just short of boiling (I took it to ~83º C). You should start seeing fine little bubbles forming around the edges and steam starting to rise up.
Remove it from the heat and blend the butter in with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
Since my crust had been in the freezer, I took it out about 30 minutes ahead and warmed it in a 325ºF oven for about 5 minutes.
One approach to a lemon tart is to make the curd, chill it and then fill the blind baked shell with the already chilled curd. Then it goes back into the fridge for additional chilling. Another is to fill the shell with the warm curd, cover the surface with plastic wrap and put the whole thing in the fridge to chill. Even another is to fill the warm shell with the warm curd and put it in the oven at 300-325ºF for about 10 minutes to further "set " the filling.
That's what I did with this one.
before the oven
after the oven
Believe me - the number of ways to approach a lemon tart is as many as the number of lemon tart recipes you'll find out there. Yes, it's true. I've tried 'em all (almost).
Once the tart cooled to room temp, I popped it (covered) in the fridge overnight.
We taste tested it the following day as our luncheon dessert at cousin Jen Galloway's house in the woods. Oh how creamy, tart and lemony it was. And the pâte brisée crust was PERFECT with it.