Tarts are my favorite kind of pastry. I like making them and eating them, especially fresh fruit ones. I love the combination of their sweet crunchy pastry dough, the creaminess of the filling and the fresh topping.
Lemon tart is among my favorites too. I like mine not too sweet, not too tangy, just the right balance of flavor and full of freshness from the lemons.
I make my lemon tart with a sweet pastry dough, which is a pate brisee kicked up a little bit! I add some yolks, sugar and vanilla. For the filling, I sometimes use lemon curd, sometimes a lemon pastry cream. In this particular tart, I used another kind of cream that I tried for the first time. I've been reading blogs about Dorri Grennspan's famous lemon cream that she herself got from the famous French pastry king "Pierre Hermé" I mean how wrong can you go with a recipe coming from this pastry chef!!!?? The cream is basically a lemon curd. The difference is that the butter is added to the cream after cooling a little bit, then it's whipped in the blender, so you end up with a light, very creamy result.
The cream was a bit too buttery and rich to my taste, especially for a tart, but I thought may be adding some berries to the tart would cut this richness a little bit and the berries can bring out the lemon flavor even more and make the tart taste even fresher.
200 g All Purpose Flour
100 g unsalted butter, cubed and cold.
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Mix the flour, sugars and salt. Add the cubed cold butter. Rub the mixture with your hands until crumbly. Add the vanilla, egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water. Work the mixture lightly until a dough forms. Add the other tablespoon of water if needed. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Lemon Cream (Pierre Herme's French Lemon Cream)
1 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (21 tablespoons; 10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1. Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice.
2. Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180°F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
3. As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.
5. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface or between two sheets of plastic wrap. Cut out circles and align them on your tart molds. Cover each tart shell with aluminum foil and put in some beans. This will help the tarts keep their shape during baking. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the foil and continue baking until lightly brown. let the tart shells cool.
When completely cool, fill each tart with the cream and decorate with blackberries or raspberries. sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!