Recipe: Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart)


I’ve not had much luck finding a good tarte au citron in Singapore. Have you? It’s usually either not on the restaurant’s menu or the pie crust comes a little too thick. Having some time on my hands last Sunday and egged on by A who bought a dozen of lemons from the supermarket, I decided to give it a go. I’ve not baked any tart shells before so this is my first – and I’m pretty certain not my last! I think it was a fairly decent attempt though I’ll be tempted to try David Lebovitz’s recipe the next time. For the filling, I used an easy lemon curd recipe from here. It was easy peasy and totally up my alley. Definitely making more lemon curd for scones or toast soon!

The shortbread crust recipe I used was adapted from JoyofBaking. I swopped some all purpose flour for almond flour instead (just because). You can stick with all purpose flour like the original recipe if you don’t have almond flour too 🙂

Shortbread Crust recipe for one 9-inch tart:

100 grammes all purpose flour
30 grammes almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
35 grammes icing sugar
113 grammes/half cup of cold unsalted butter, cubed

Lightly butter an 8 or 9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan. One with a removable bottom would be better. I used one without.

In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. 

Transfer the pastry to the prepared pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) 

Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.)

Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes. I did only 8 minutes and the sides shrank a little.)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C and place rack in the center of the oven. 

Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust until golden brown, about 13 -15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. It is now ready to be filled.

Lemon curd:

50 to 60g unsalted butter (butter is to smoothen the texture. reduce it slightly if you want)
200 to 225g sugar (depending how sweet or tart you like it) (I actually used only 100g I think. This is really similar to the make up of ingredients in Lebovitz’s recipe)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
120ml fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest, or more if you like (depending on how strong you want the flavour of lemon)

In a heavy saucepan, whisk all the ingredients except the butter. Mix well. The mixture may look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks. Ensure your flame is small and never stop stirring the mixture.
* If you want a more subtle taste of lemon, do not add the zest at this stage. Set it aside with the butter.
Watch the mixture closely. Once it thickens – it should leave a path on the back of a spoon – turn off the flame and add butter in 2 or 3 additions. If you have not added in your lemon zest, add it in now and stir to mix well.
Allow the curd to cool slightly (it’ll thicken further as it cools) before pouring onto the pie base.
Chill pie in the refrigerator for about half an hour for the curd to set before serving. Voila!
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