Tarte au Citron

This French lemon tart definitely lives up to the “tart” in its name, although I found that the flavor was less intense after a couple days — or maybe I just got used to the tartness! I actually rather enjoyed how tart it was, and found myself craving another slice after I ate the first one. If your preference leans more toward sweet than sour, though, increase the sugar to 2/3 cup and dust some powdered or granulated sugar on top. If you’re using regular lemons instead of meyer lemons, which are sweeter, you may want to add more sugar.

I don’t have a tart pan, so I just used a 10-inch glass pie pan. Instead of fitting the dough all the way around the lip of the pan, though, I just filled the pan with enough dough to touch the very top of the pan but not go onto the edge. It shrank beautifully and ended up resembling a tart crust. This tart would be gorgeous with a drizzle of raspberry or strawberry sauce, although it goes nicely with whipped cream as well.

Tarte au Citron (adapted from About.com):

For the crust:
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 2 tbsp. sugar
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 7 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
– 3 tbsp. ice water

Cut the butter into small cubes. In a food processor, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse until pea-sized chunks of butter are visible (you can also use a pastry cutter or your hands if you don’t have a food processor). Add ice water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until the mixture sticks together. Chill the dough for 30 minutes to an hour, then roll out and place on a tart pan or pie pan.

Place foil and pie weights (you can use pennies or dried beans if you don’t have actual pie weights) over the crust and par-bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F.

For the filling:
– 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
– 1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
– 2 eggs
– 2 egg yolks
– 2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (about 6-7 small meyer lemons)
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 4 tsp. lemon zest (about 4 small meyer lemons)

Combine the butter and crème fraiche in a double boiler (or a medium saucepan filled with water and a smaller pot set on top of it). Heat and stir until the butter is melted and the ingredients are mixed, but do not let the water boil. Set aside.

In a separate saucepan over the double boiler, mix the eggs, yolks, lemon juice, sugar, and zest with a whisk, and cook while stirring for three minutes. Add the butter mixture and cook while stirring for another three minutes.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 30-45 minutes at 375 degrees F. When the tart is done, the filling should be set, not jiggly, and the crust should be golden brown. Sprinkle powdered or granulated sugar on top and let cool.

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