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Most Extraordinary Lemon Cream Tart (LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow 2010)

October 3, 2010

*This post made it to the Foodbuzz Daily Top 9 on 4 Oct 2010!*

I’ve been wanting to make this lemon tart for a while. Dorie Greenspan learnt the recipe from master French chef Pierre Herme over 12 years ago, and loved it so much she decided to include it in her popular book Baking: From My Home to Yours. (I don’t own a copy of the book, but I hope I will someday soon!) For those of you who’ve been following my blog for some time, remember the gorgeous caramel pumpkin tart recipe that I was crazy about? Yup, it was a Dorie Greenspan recipe.

So anyway, yesterday I bought me a nice bag of lemons intending to make the tart over the weekend. When I got home, I was too lazy to do my chores so I decided to while away some time by blog surfing for a little bit. I chanced upon Ellie’s just-published post on LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow, recalled that Shirley had also submitted a post in honour of LiveSTRONG day, and since two of my favorite bloggers had jumped on the LiveSTRONG bandwagon, I thought I should find out more about it too.

LiveSTRONG DAY: 2 Oct 2010

LiveSTRONG Day was started by cancer survivor and cycling champion Lance Armstrong in 2004, to raise funds, create awareness and advocate on behalf of people living with cancer. In 2007, Australian food blogger Barbara, who has also battled cancer, decided to begin a little sub movement in the food blogosphere called LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow, to lend support to the movement. (This year, Barbara’s chosen to have hearts as the theme for the series.)

Such a heartfelt and inspiring thing!

I knew I just had to make a contribution, and the timing was just perfect since I was already planning on making a lemon yellow tart anyway. (Basically, food bloggers who participate are supposed to put up a post about a food they’ve made that is yellow in colour.) Dorie’s recipe didn’t specify what tart shell to use, so I used my absolute favorite Pierre Herme Sweet Tart Dough recipe. I’ll post that as an add-on in a day or two – don’t have enough time tonight!

I haven’t eaten a whole slice of the tart yet because I’m bringing it to a party tomorrow, but I’ve had a taste of the cream, and it truly is extraordinary. Eyes-wide-open-with-delight good. Just a simple combination of lemon, sugar, eggs and butter, with the butter brilliantly blended in at the end rather than melted into the mix. You have to try it! So good! I tried a different lemon tart recipe a few weeks ago, and it was simply dreadful. Sickeningly sweet and overpowering. Dorie’s recipe, on the other hand, is sublime. (Sublemon? =)

So without further ado, here is the recipe for The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart.

(Singaporean female readers, you might like to check out this page for the many Breast Cancer Awareness events lined up for this month.)

Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
(Adapted closely from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

Please click here for printable recipe.

Ingredients (8 servings):

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
  • 297g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 1 fully-baked 9-inch tart shell (24 Oct ’10: Sweet Tart Dough recipe can be found here)


1. Make sure you have on hand a digital kitchen thermometer, a blender, and a strainer that fits nicely over the top of the blender. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can perched over the pan of simmering water.  Away from the heat, use your fingers to rub the sugar and zest together until the sugar is moist, grainy and aromatic.  Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

3. Place the bowl over the pan. After 1-2 minutes, when the cream starts to feel tepid, start whisking the cream.  Whisk CONTINUOUSLY for 10-12 minutes until the cream reaches 82 degC (180deg F).  (DO NOT STOP WHISKING or you will end up with a mushy bowl of scrambled eggs.) As the cream gets close to 82 degC, you will see it magically begin to thicken and transform from a juice-like substance into more of a custard.

4. The moment the cream hits 82 degC, remove it from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender; discard the zest.  Let the cream rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 60 degC (140 degF).

5. Turn the blender to high and add in the butter about 5 pieces at a time.  Stop to scrape down the inside of the blender as needed (I didn’t have to do this).  Once all the butter is in, keep beating the cream for another 3 minutes. This will disperse the butter evenly throughout the cream and give you a gorgeous creamy but light texture.

6. 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.  When you are ready to construct the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart cold.

Doris says that while the lemon cream can be made ahead (it will keep in the fridge for 4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months), once the tart is constructed, it’s best to eat it right away. Sadly, my constructed tart will be sitting in the fridge overnight! Let’s hope it still tastes lovely tomorrow.

Pictures of the ingredients and steps 2 and 4.

Spoon this:

Into this:

To get this:

27 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2010 9:04 am

    Beautiful and I mean both the tart and your writing 🙂 I want to go try baking lemon tart too!

  2. October 3, 2010 10:26 am

    I love lemon tart and have a recipe I make often which doesn’t require blind baking the pastry shell.

    Yours looks delicious. I hope it was as good as you hoped after sitting in the fridge overnight.

    Thank you for supporting LiveSTRONG Day

  3. October 3, 2010 4:26 pm

    PY: That to me is just about the biggest compliment ever =) Thank you sweet girl.
    barbara: Yes it tasted wonderful! Thank you for being an inspiration =)

  4. October 3, 2010 5:01 pm

    looks fab!

  5. October 4, 2010 12:49 am

    Looks so irresistable!! I love the empowering lemon smell but not my hubby. *Sigh*

  6. October 4, 2010 4:56 pm

    i love lemon tarts! i’ve been eyeing this recipe for a really long time. this looks delicious!

  7. October 4, 2010 5:40 pm

    Clare, I am so happy you made this. I feel very happy that my little blunder (I published my post too early) – had create enough awareness for more people to show support for this 🙂 :)…. This tart looks really good! Perfect for the event!

  8. October 4, 2010 5:46 pm

    What a beautiful tart and such an amazing cause to support!

  9. October 4, 2010 6:32 pm

    Lovely tart! Looks so refreshing and delicious!
    Congrats on the top 9 today!

  10. October 4, 2010 9:05 pm

    That tart looks delicious! Lately, I can’t get enough lemon. Thanks for sharing.

  11. October 4, 2010 10:23 pm

    Hi Clare,
    This lemon cream tart looks very creamy and good. I’ve wanted to try a lemon tart for the longest time. Your post has come timely. I shall attempt to try this for my next bake. Yummy.

  12. October 4, 2010 10:38 pm

    This looks incredible! I love Baking From my Home to Yours. Dorie Greenspan definitely knows how to make a good dessert to say the least. Congrats on Top 9!

  13. Shannon abdollmohammadi permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:07 am

    This is amazing! Way to go on making food buzz top 9 again!!

  14. October 5, 2010 12:27 am

    Suchitra, food-4tots, shirley, Peggy, Dimah, Sarah: Thanks so very much =)
    LimeCake, Eileen, aloyallyanders: Thanks a lot. You should try it! Such a good and clever recipe.

  15. October 5, 2010 1:57 am

    beautiful dessert

  16. October 5, 2010 8:24 am

    This tart is absolutely stunning, and for a good cause, too? How very, very sweet. Thank you for sharing this recipe and these beautiful photos.

  17. October 5, 2010 1:44 pm

    The pastel yellow is so lovely and soothing. Congrats on making the Fb Top 9 again! 🙂

  18. crustabakes permalink
    October 5, 2010 11:02 pm

    This is beautiful. your pictures are perfect. i love them!

  19. October 6, 2010 8:30 am

    The lemon tart totally deserve a spot at Foodbuzz Top 9! They look totally gorgeous and what divine yellow hue! I made the same lemon curd tart with Meyer lemon before and there is something just very different abotu Meyer lemon. I needed less sugar because it is not as tart and I’ve used the exact same recipe before, it took me a while before reaching the right temperature over the Bain-Marie. Patience Patience Patience! That is what you have!

  20. October 6, 2010 8:54 am

    I could not resist licking the cream off the tart first…:p

    congrats on making to top 9 again.

  21. October 6, 2010 11:45 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! It looks so luscious! Congrats on making top 9!

  22. October 6, 2010 11:52 am

    This pie looks absolutely delicious. I am thinking of making it for thanksgiving (which is this weekend in Canada). I think that it will feel like a light treat after such a copious meal.

  23. mel permalink
    October 7, 2010 6:27 pm

    That pie looks awesome!! Did you use granulated sugar or icing sugar or what?

  24. October 8, 2010 12:54 am

    torviewtoronto, Georgia, noobcook, crustabakes, tigerfish, 5 Star Foodie: Thank so much =) *beaming*
    Quinn: Really great point. I think if there’s anything I might do differently next time, it’s to use a bit less sugar if my lemon is not very sour/sharp.
    Letizia: Let me know how it goes!
    mel: Thanks! Regular granulated sugar will do, because it all gets dissolved into the lemon juice.

  25. October 25, 2010 1:38 pm

    I AM SSOOO making THIS! It looks gorgeous n i KNOW it tastes gorgeous . TQ 🙂

  26. October 27, 2010 8:11 am

    I tend to go for lime but this looks absolutely heavenly!

  27. October 29, 2010 3:17 pm

    Thank you Salty Pfeffer & The Cheeky Banana (that’s a long name! Haha)

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