When pastry chefs develop recipes, there are a few elements that they always have in mind. Being able to incorporate different textures is important in producing a delightful dessert. Furthermore, it would be wonderful if the dessert also has some acidity to balance the sweetness. Therefore this lemon tart truly satisfies all of the above: a creamy, smooth and tangy lemon curd with a sweet and crunchy meringue topping a flaky tart shell. A dessert made in heaven!!
Ingredients to make a 14x4 inch rectangular or 9 inch round tart:
Tart shell Pâte Sablée:
87 g unsalted butter, softened
145 g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
18 g almond flour
55 g powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
40 g egg yolks
1) Put the butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle to mix it until it is crumbly, about a minute or two.
2) Add the almond flour and sifted powdered sugar. Mix until they come together.
3) Add vanilla extract and the yolks. Mix until it is combined. Do not over mix.
4) Take the dough out and flatten it into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for a few hours or more preferably overnight.
5) Roll out the dough about a quarter inch thick. Line it in the tart pan or ring. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to let the gluten relax.
6) Pre-bake the tart shell with pie weights in a preheated 325F oven for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until it is golden in color. Let it cool completely.
Lemon Cream Filling:
192 g unsalted butter, softened
200 g sugar
175 g whole egg
half a lemon zest
140 g lemon juice, freshly squeezed
pinch of salt
1) In a bowl, put half the sugar, lemon juice and salt. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
2) In another bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and egg for 30 seconds. Combine with the mixture from step 1 and the lemon zest.
3) Put about an inch of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Place the bowl of lemon egg mixture on top of the pot and heat, frequently stirring, until it reaches 176F.
4) Strain the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. When it cools down to about 140F, in less than 5 minutes, add half of the softened butter and beat with the paddle until blended. Add the rest of the butter and blend until homogeneous, about a minute.
5) Pour the mixture into the baked and cooled tart shell. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
French Meringue Topping:
50 g egg white
75 g sugar
25 g powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 250F.
2) Beat egg white on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar in three additions. Beat for 2 minutes after each addition. It should look shiny and hold a stiff peak.
3) Add the sifted powdered sugar to the meringue and fold until blended.
4) Fill in a piping bag and pipe onto a sheet pan into desired shape.
5) Bake for an hour until crisp. Cool completely before using as a garnish.