Lemon flavored anything is always my favorite. So when I came across this recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking I decided to give it a try. It is not as sharp and tart as the creamy, lemon curd-ish tarts I've had before, but a lighter, fluffier filling with a bit more subtle flavor. I paired it with a tart crust from Nancy Birtwhistle's Sizzle and Drizzle.
Above are tartlets - little mini versions of a larger tart. Either size turns out well. Another variation is to replace the lemon with lime...
You're going to need a crust for this filling. There are many options to choose from but I have landed on this one from Nancy Birtwhistle. Her methods and recipes are nearly fool-proof :) I also save half the rolled out dough and freeze it with waxed paper or parchment to keep it from sticking to itself.
-10-inch cooked pie crust shell placed on a baking sheet. Use homemade or refrigerated pie crust from the grocery store.
-Electric mixer, beater or wire whisk
-3 to 4 quart stainless steel (or heat-proof) bowl
-3/4 cup granulated sugar (1/2 c for A, 1/4 c for B)
-4 egg yolks
-4 egg whites
-Grated rind of 1 lemon or 2 limes
-3 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
-A pan of not-quite-simmering water
-A wooden spoon
-Candy thermometer (optional)
-Powdered sugar (in a shaker or have a sieve on hand)
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
*When you bake the tart shell, don't let it brown much as it will bake longer with the filling.
Part A: Make the lemon cream
1-In a heat-proof bowl, gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar into the egg yolks with a whisk attachment until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and falls back onto itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.
2-Beat in the citrus juice and rind.
3-Set the bowl over the barely simmering water and stir with the wooden spoon until the mixture is too hot to touch (165 degrees if you use the candy thermometer). It should thicken enough that it coats the spoon lightly. Be sure to keep the heat low and use your patience so that you don't end up with scrambled eggs:P
Part B: Prepare the egg whites
1-Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed. Check out this post to see more about egg white "peaks."
2-Sprinkle on 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until you have stiff peaks.
-Fold the egg whites into the warm lemon mix and turn into the tart shell and bake for 30 minutes in the middle level of a preheated oven.
-Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
-Return to the oven and bake until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick/tester/knife into the center comes out clean.
The recommendation for this tart is to serve it warm! I have yet to have this option as I seem to always make it ahead of time - but - warm lemon with vanilla ice cream sounds delicious.
If you cannot serve it immediately, it is recommended to leave it in the oven, turned off, with the door ajar. It will sink/deflate as it cools (it is a soufflé after all). This one can actually be served at room temp/cool or hot - very versatile!
🍋 Enjoy! 🍋