By: Deanna Linder
Expectations are an interesting thing. Live with too many of them and you often find yourself let down. Live with too little of them and you can expect the mundane. Having the right amount of expectations is probably one of the golden rules of how to be happy in life and I’m trying desperately to find that golden medium.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I expect a lot from myself, as I do of others around me. My “other-half” is therefore many times placed in a position of having to fulfill my expectations. Some are typical, while others I admit are probably far-fetched.
We became parents this year. We didn’t receive the handbook on how to be parents. Both of us are learning (some faster than others). With the kid turning one today, I wanted to let the other half know that he has fulfilled my expectations in the father category.
This tart is a little something that more than fulfilled my expectations. First of all, being that it is a recipe adapted from Pierre Herme, the French king of pastry, I expected it was going to be difficult to make. Wasn’t the case at all. With just sugar, eggs, lemons and butter, the cream filling is sensationally creamy without being heavy. The base is your typical tart base; make it once, and it’s like riding a bike.
We shot this tart in a new, really cool shop in Yaffo, called Home Workshop.
Lemon Cream Tart
The original recipe requires a thermometer. I tend to not make recipes that require such tools but I went at it anyways. It came out perfect without using the thermometer. I hope yours will too. I know this tart has a lot of butter, but sometimes you just have to let go of your expectations.
Ingredients for one 9-inch tart:
For the dough:
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1 stick (4 oz./100 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
For the filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
4 large eggs
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
10.5 ounces/300 grams butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- Prepare the dough: In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture has a crumb –like texture. Add the egg mixture and mix just until the dough pulls together.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about ⅛ inch thick. Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 9-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan. Freeze for 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, butter side down, tightly against the crust. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 8-10 minutes, until golden. Set aside on a rack to cool completely.
- While the crust is chilling, prepare the lemon cream filling: put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the eggs and then the lemon juice.
- Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (ban marie) and whisk constantly. The cream will start out light and foamy and the bubble will become bigger, and when it gets close to 180º it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. The cream is almost ready at this point. Continue whisking until the cream is thick and it becomes difficult to whisk. This process should take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the cream, discarding the zest. Let the cream stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Place the cream in a food processor or blender and gradually add the butter. Once all the butter is incorporated continue to blend for an additional 3 minutes.
- Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Whisk the cream slightly before spooning it into the tart shell. Tart is best when the crust is at room temperature and the filling is cold.