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April 19, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie (A Little Late): The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart (with Blueberry Sauce)!

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart with Blueberry Topping

It's not Tuesday, but it's time for a little Tuesdays with Dorie none the less! Last week the recipe for Tuesday's with Dorie was The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart and I was looking forward to trying it out and then all hell broke loose and it just didn't happen! But I promised myself (and you readers too) that I'd get back to the Tart and get back to it I did!

First of let me say Oh...My...God! This tart is heavenly! I halved the recipe and made four mini-tarts instead of one big tart, but it was divine! I also made some blueberry sauce to go along with it since lemon and blueberry are just a pair made in heaven and this tart really was heavenly....But...This is not an every day food! Talk about rich and calorie laden! It's definitely a sometimes food, but oh so lovely to enjoy when that sometimes rolls around!

Tuesdays with Dorie: The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

So here is my take on The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart and as they say better late than never! ;o)

What You'll Need for the Filling: (Note: Remember I halved the recipe.)
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons (Note: I used the zest of two lemons as it's kind of hard to half three.)
4 large eggs
¾ c fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 T butter (10 ½ ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough (Note: See recipe below and I halved it too. You need to make the dough first...)

Getting ready:

Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience- depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp may take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to bend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests, and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart: Filling

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (the cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator)

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart: Ready for Topping

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart: Crust Up Close

What You'll Need for the Sweet Tart Dough: (Again I halved this)
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk (Note: I used the whole egg yolk as it's hard to cut one in two.)
(Note: I had to add a bit of cold water to the dough to get it to come together as well.)

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.

To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon. For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Posted by Dianne at April 19, 2008 7:53 AM

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Dianne, this looks wonderful! I love the blueberry sauce on top. Great job!

Posted by: Karen at April 19, 2008 12:30 PM

ohmygosh. This looks so delicious! Glad you were able to make it. Better late than never I always say! ;) "See" you next week!

Posted by: CB at April 19, 2008 3:57 PM

It was really, really good! I won't be making it again anytime soon, but this is a definitely one to pull out for a special occasion. :o)

I'm looking forward to the carrot cake for Tuesday...I'm going to make it tomorrow and send it to work with Jamison so I won't be tempted to over indulge! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at April 19, 2008 5:09 PM

Oh. my. goodness. That looks amazing!

Posted by: Amanda at April 19, 2008 11:18 PM

Thanks! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at April 21, 2008 10:13 AM

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