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Tarte au Citron

French Lemon Tart

serves 8

for the Pâte Sucrée (Makes enough for 2 tarts)

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 large egg yolks

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound unsalted butter

for the lemon curd

4 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice

5 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

to make the Pâte Sucrée

Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces, about a half an inch. Add the butter to the flour mixture and, using your hands, begin to toss to coat the butter with the flour. Using your fingertips, combine the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Be careful not to overwork the dough as it will make the dough tough. Continue this process until it resembles a coarse meal.

Add the heavy cream and egg yolk mixture and toss gently with a fork to incorporate. Feel free to use your hands to continue to combine the ingredients. But again, be sure to not overwork the dough. You can tell when the dough is ready by taking a small handful, squeezing it together. It if holds together, the dough is complete. If not, feel free to add more cream to reach the right consistency. When the dough is ready, divide the dough in two and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the plastic wrap around the dough, forming a pouch, twist and push down to form a flat disk. Chill the dough for at least an hour or, ideally, overnight.

To make the tart shell, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll until a 1/4 inch thick, flouring as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. Be sure to maintain a circular shape while rolling out the dough. Beginning at one end, gather the dough at one end onto a rolling pin and gently lift it onto the tart pan. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the tart pan, being mindful not to stretch the dough as you fit it into the pan. To remove the excess dough, you use your thumb to gently scrape along the sides of the tart pan creating a nice, clean edge to the dough. Place in the freezer until firm.

to make the tart

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Take the tart pan with the pâte sucrée from the freezer. Prick the bottom with a fork and line it with a parchment paper circle. Filled the lined tarts shell with beans and bake 15 minutes until the sides are set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and the beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake 12-15 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Set aside on a rack and cool completely.

to make the lemon curd 

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar and lemon juice together. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the lemon curd had thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Removed the lemon curd from the heat. Strain it into a clean bowl. Add the butter pieces a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely. Season with the salt. Let the curd cool for about 5 minutes or so and strain it into the prepared tart shell. Chill the tart until set. 

This tart is best served cold. It is best served the day you make it.