Recipe: Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart)
Finally!!! This dish really does originate from France. The Tarte au Citron, or Lemon Tart. It was said to have originated in the city of Menton in France (specifically the French Riviera) where the climate was suitable to growing lemons. This city was actually likened to be the "most Italian French city". And of course, because their main produce were lemons, there would be a wide array of products and even festivals dedicated to this. Yup, lemon festivals! The Fête du Citron! Whattajoy!
The traditional way of making the Tarte au Citron is actually making a sabayon (which is making a custard or curd over heat with eggs and sugar, and butter is slowly incorporated in then flavoured with whatever flavour you want). To my surprise, AGAIN, I realized I didn't even have glass bowls to do the double-boiler method (YES, I DON'T... WHY?!!?🙄) to make the sabayon. I swear, how do I function in my kitchen?! Anyways, I was determined to make this because I've been craving for it for a really long time. And for some reason, every time I bought a slice from a patisserie or cafe, it just didn't hit the right spot. Some were too grainy and sugary, some weren't tart enough, and some just tasted like egg. So I wanted to make one that I could really taste the lemon and have a nice sweet and durable crust.
So, I tried another method. An easier way. And the end product? Gift-able and "woah"-worthy. As my husband would say, "IG worthy".
Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart)
This makes an 11-inch tart. If you wanted more individual tarts, you can probably make 4 pieces of 4-inch tarts or about a dozen of the mini tarts, if you wanted to serve these as a sharable dessert (as a petit four or part of a high tea arrangement).
You will need the following: an 11-inch tart pan (removable bottom), a food processor (I used my Ninja and it worked fine 😉), plastic/saran wrap, a rolling pin, a cooling rack, a strainer/sieve, foil or parchment paper, a bowl, a whisk, and a spatula.
Pastry Dough/Crust (Tart Shell) Ingredients
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 egg, large
1 tsp vanilla extract
extra flour for dusting
*rice or beans for blind baking (a method to bake the crust before hand so it doesn't go soggy by lining the crust with foil or parchment paper and filling it with dry weights such as rice, beans, lentils, or metal baking beads)
Lemon Filling Ingredients
4 eggs, large
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
lemon zest of 2 lemons
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
powdered sugar for dusting
1. To make the pastry crust, blitz the dry ingredients first in the food processor. Add the butter cubes and pulse until crumbled. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse only until the dough forms.
Keep this chilled and covered, you don't want to dry it out and this contains eggs. This should keep in the chiller for 4-5 days. Just always dust a fresh layer of powdered sugar; and you can even jazz it up with some cream or berries before serving!
*A Petit Four is a small, bite-sized confection or sweet pastry enjoyed at the end of a meal. Usually in assorted variations, they could be part of a pastry buffet, afternoon tea, or served as a tasting plate of various pastries. They literally mean "small oven" in French.
**Now that you know how to make a basic pastry crust, you're tart world has now opened up to so many other possibilities! You can use this base for just about any tart recipe you want to try. Try making some pastry cream and top with fruit. Or even a simple ganache with toasted hazelnuts! Hmmm....
***The filling recipe can also be used as a base - just replace the lemon juice and zest with alternate flavours. A nice key lime tart, calamansi, or even a mango tart perhaps? Don't be afraid to try out new recipes. Even if you fail. It's a skill and it takes practice. Don't be too hard on yourself. I'm sure even professional chefs have their stories of burned dishes or dishes gone wrong.
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