The lemon cream for Tartine’s lemon cream tart is as the name suggests, very lemony and creamy–opaque and silky, instead of the translucent and slightly more jelly-like consistency, which I usually see in lemon tarts. The recipe starts with an egg base, but calls for a good amount of butter to finish for the creamy consistency. It’s a cardiologist’s dream.
Recipe notes: The level of difficulty of the recipe is medium, requiring a double-boiler set-up, but my favorite part of making the cream is using my immersion blender to incorporate all the butter. The egg mixture took longer to thicken than the recipe suggests (more than 30 minutes v. the 10-12 minutes noted in the original recipe). I also don’t like a very strong lemon flavor, so I would scale back the lemon juice amount to 1/2 cup (omitting the extra 2 T. the recipe calls for), but others may prefer the robust, mouth-puckering lemon tartness.
Verdict: I would make this again, however thickening took longer than the recipe specifies and I would use a little less lemon juice next time.
Tartine’s Lemon Cream:Makes approximately 2-1/2 cups1/2 cup + 2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut in 1 T. pieces and still cold
– Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Find a mixing bowl that will rest securely on top of the saucepan, making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
– Combine lemon juice, eggs, eggs yolk, sugar and salt in mixing bowl and mix together, using a wire whisk. Transfer the bowl to set on top of the saucepan, and continue to whisk until mixture thickens. The cookbook suggests that the temperature of the mixture should reach 180F. (It took me about 30 minutes to reach only 120F).
– Once thickened, move the mixing bowl to your counter, and continue to stir once in a while to cool the mixture to about 140F.
– Using an immersion blender, blend in the cold butter one piece at a time. Incorporate each piece completely before adding the next one. The cream will be smooth, thick and pale yellow in color.
To assemble the tart:
– Fill tart shell with lemon cream.
– Refrigerate tart for about 2 hours, until filling is firm.
– When serving, a little whipped cream on top provides a nice balance to the tartness of the lemon. (It’s easy to make your own whipped cream–whisk 1 cup of very cold heavy cream until it thickens, then add about 2 t. sugar and continue to whip until the cream can hold soft peaks.)
(recipe adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)