Wendy in the kitchen

Whole Lemon Tart

My mom sent me this recipe from a NY Times magazine. She'd made it for friends and they all agreed it was the best lemon tart they'd tasted (and they've tasted many, many lemon tarts over the years!). It even trumps the one I always ask my mom to bake for me when I visit my parents in the USA. I made it last week for our Ottolenghi class as a treat at the end and we all agreed it was a keeper!

Adapted from “Paris Sweets,” by Dorie Greenspan.

Yield 8 servings

Time 1 hour, plus cooling

Ingredients

1 partly baked 9-to-9 1/2-inch tart crust in a pan with a removable bottom (recipe below)

1 lemon, scrubbed and dried

1 ½ cups/300 grams sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoons/24 grams cornstarch

4 ounces/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Sweet Tart Crust

Yield One 9-to-9 1/2-inch crust

Time 45 minutes, plus chilling and cooling

This recipe, a trusted go-to, is sweet, golden and more crisp than flaky. Typically French — it’s a pâte sablée — I use the recipe for my whole lemon tart as well as for the less French bakewell tart. I make the dough in a food processor using very cold butter, and while it sounds like culinary heresy, I roll it out as soon as it’s made. Sandwiched between parchment or wax paper, the dough is a cinch to roll at this point — just make sure to chill it before you bake it (better yet, freeze it once it’s in the pan). I also like to partly bake the crust before I fill it, a step you can skip, but prebaking will give you a crisper bottom crust.


Ingredients


1 ½ cups/204 grams all-purpose flour

½ cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

4 ½ ounces/128 grams very cold unsalted butter (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon), cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

Preparation

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse to blend. Scatter in the butter, and pulse about a dozen times, until the butter is cut in — you’ll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk to break it up and add it in 3 additions, pulsing after each. Pulse until the dough has curds and clumps; it should hold together when you pinch it.

Turn it out onto a counter, knead it into a compact ball and flatten it into a disk.

Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle between layers of parchment (or wax) paper. If it’s cold enough, fit it into a 9-to-9½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, trimming the top even with the pan’s edges; if it’s not, chill it until you can work with it. Refrigerate the crust (in the pan) for at least 1 hour (or cover and freeze for up to 2 months).

Heat the oven to 400F. Place the pan on a baking sheet, and cover with a piece of buttered foil or parchment, pressing it lightly to cover the crust’s bottom and sides; fill with rice.

Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and rice. If you're going to bake the tart again with a filling, bake it uncovered for 5 minutes more. Cool for at least 30 minutes before filling.

Method for tart:

Cut the lemon into thin slices, and discard the seeds. Toss the slices and sugar into the bowl of a food processor, and whir for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until smooth. With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time, and then, when they’re incorporated, the cornstarch followed by the melted butter. Remove the bowl, and rap it against the counter a few times to pop some of the bubbles in the mixture. Pour the batter into the pre-cooked crust.

Bake the tart for 45 to 55 minutes, until the filling is puffed and lightly browned — don’t be concerned if the top cracks. If you tap the side of the pan, the filling should seem firm; if it jiggles just the least bit in the center, that’s fine. A toothpick poked into the center — be gentle — will come out clean. Transfer the tart on the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Leave until it reaches room temperature. The tart can be served now or chilled (it will keep in the refrigerator overnight).

Just before serving, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. 

December 2019

Rustic Frangipane tart

Rustic Pear Frangipane Galette

Free-Form Rustic Pear Galette with frangipane (makes 6 individual tartlets or one large)

Recipe from The Art of Cuisine, recipes of Toulouse Lautrec by Maurice Joyant, adapted by Chef Dr. Wendy Nolan Joyce

The advantage of a galette is that it's meant to be rustic so there's no need to worry about creating picture-perfect edges.

This pastry dough is a wonder! Easy to mix and roll, it bakes up sturdy yet flaky. I usually make my dough in a food processor. For the best results, don't cut the butter too small. Leave it in big, visible chunks—sugar-cube size is fine. You'll see streaks of butter when you gather the dough into a disk, but don't be alarmed. In the oven, those streaks of butter help to create light, flaky, buttery layers.

A layer of frangipane keeps the crust crisp by absorbing some of the fruits' juices.


PASTRY:

2-1/2 cups high grade flour

2 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

227g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

 2/3 cup ice water 

FRANGIPANE:

 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough

 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 large egg

Apricot jam

1/2 T vanilla extract or rhum

Egg wash

2 pears peeled and sliced plus sugar for sprinkling


METHOD:

For the frangipane: In a clean food processor, cream butter and sugar in the bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, ground almonds, rum or extract, and flour; beat until smooth. Set aside in fridge until ready to use.

For the crust: In a clean food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt, Pulse 5-6 times.

Add the cubed cold butter and pulse until mixture has small pebble-like pieces.

Add the ice water all at once to the flour and butter. Mix the dough just until it begins to come together (if using a stand mixer or a food processor, be especially careful not to overmix the dough). Gather the dough with your hands -- don't worry if you see streaks of butter -- and shape it into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a template, cut into 6 rounds or one large round.

Transfer to the baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes or, if the dough isn’t too soft, make the tarts right away.

ASSEMBLE:

Spread the preserves on the pastry rounds, leaving about a 1-inch border. Spread the frangipane over the apricot preserves.

Arrange the pear slices on top, fanning the pear slices in a circular design.

Fold the pastry up and over the fruit.

Brush with egg wash over the pastry and then sprinkle with the raw sugar.

Bake the galettes for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. The galettes are finished when the crusts are brown and the frangipane is puffed.

Thanks for checking out my recipe page!

 

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