Et voilà! The lemon tart… a French classic and one of my sister’s favourites. If like her you cannot picture your life without lemon and desserts, this recipe is for you. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of French gastronomy, this variation is gluten-free! This dessert in three stages is a bit technical, but completely doable if you follow the instructions carefully 🙂
Be ready to amaze your guests 😉
Ingredients: (for one big tart)
Pâte sablée (literally “sand pastry crust” is the base of the tart, its skeleton)
- 150g of rice flour
- 100g of glutinous rice flour
- 1 pinch of salt (2g)
- 125g of softened unsalted butter
- 125g of sugar
- 1 egg
Lemon cream (the heart of the dessert, the pièce de résistance)
- 150g of sugar
- 300mL of lemon juice (around 4 to 5 lemons)
- 3 whole eggs and 4 yolks
- 35g of corn starch
- 60g of unsalted butter
- 200mL of liquid cream (without thickening agents)
Italian meringue (the cherry on top)
- 4 egg-whites
- 210g of sugar
- 70mL of water (70g)
- 1 generous pinch of salt (4g)
Preparation: 45 minutes
Refrigeration: 20 minutes
Baking: 1h30 (in total) 180°C/220°C (355°F/430°F)
- Start with the crust. In a large bowl, sieve the flours and the salt.
- Add the softened butter and “sand” the pastry (knead the butter and flours and rub the paste between your fingers until the pastry is homogeneous and has a sand like texture).
- Add the egg and sugar. Mix with a spatula until consistent (you can also knead with your hands) and form a ball. Cover it with film and refrigerate it for 20 minutes.
- Start the lemon cream. In a saucepan, boil 100g of sugar and the lemon to create a lemon syrup, set aside.
- In a bowl whisk the eggs, the yolks and the rest of the sugar (50g) until they start to whiten.
- Add the corn starch and beat vigorously. Pour the syrup in and keep whisking.
- Transfer the preparation back in the saucepan and bring to simmering until it thickens, while whisking the preparation to keep it from sticking.
- Take the pan out of the heat and blend in the butter.
- Set aside in a bowl and film in contact (the film must touch the cream to protect it from oxygen to prevent the formation of a crust). Refrigerate to bring down to 25°C (77°F).
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (355°F).
- Take the pastry crust out of the fridge and gently set it on baking paper. Roll the pastry out gently and shape it into a large circle, larger than your tart tin.
- Place the pastry in the tin and place a second sheet of baking paper on it. Fill the surface of the pastry with dried beans (or a smaller tart tin) to keep it from rising in the oven.
- Put the tin in the oven until the crust is golden brown (about 40 minutes).
- Once the lemon cream is around 25°C (77°F) and the crust baked, beat the liquid cream until fluffy.
- Gently add it to the lemon cream and immediately pour the cream in the crust. Smooth the top of the cream and keep refrigerated.
- Start the Italian meringue. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil. The syrup must reach a temperature of 121°C (250°F). (the liquid should be reduced in half if you don’t have a thermometer).
- Beat the egg-whites with the pinch of salt until firm. When the syrup is ready, add to the eggs and beat at the same time (for this step, I usually use a kitchen robot to have both hands free) Beat the meringue until shiny and it is about room temperature.
- Decorate the top of the tart with the meringue using a pastry bag or a spatula.
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (430°F) in grill mode. Put the tart close to the top until golden. Be careful, this step is very delicate as the meringue burns very fast.
- Keep refrigerated until served.
Last tip: Those instructions follow my personal way of preparing this recipe. I switch between stages to save time. This demands experience and timing. But if you are not in a hurry, you can create each different component separately by following the colour code.