Cookbook Profile

Tarte au Citron
Lemon Tart

Crème Frâiche
Crème Frâiche

Makes 6 to 8 servings


My favorite lemon tart in Paris comes from the renowned Christian Constant. I'd never succeeded in duplicating his version until I tried the following recipe. The crust is almost a big shortbread cookie, not the easiest to work with, but worth the bother. If it tears when you roll it out, don't despair. Do the best you can to line your tart pan and piece together bits where necessary. Be certain that the pastry is well chilled before you bake it.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter,
   cut into teaspoon-sized pieces,
   plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon ice water
3 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup crème frâiche or heavy cream


1. Place the flour, salt, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a mixer bowl. Add the chilled butter and mix at medium speed until the mixture resembles grainy meal. Add the ice water and 1 of the egg yolks and mix just until a mass begins to form. Remove from the bowl, roll into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes before using.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat together the remaining 2 yolks with the eggs. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the lemon juice, and the crème frâiche. Stir in the tablespoon of melted butter. Set the mixture aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

4. Flour a work surface and roll the pastry into a 10-inch circle. Line a 9-inch tart ring with the pastry. Prick the bottom of the pastry in a few places with a fork and place in the freezer for 5 minutes.

5. When the dough is well chilled, line it with aluminum foil, making sure to work the foil into the corners. Place the piecrust in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes, then transfer to the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the tart pan from the oven and remove the foil. Place the tart shell on the middle rack of the oven and pour in the lemon mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lemon mixture is set. Remove the tart from the oven and cool completely before unmolding. (This can be made a day in advance and kept tightly wrapped at room temperature; do not refrigerate.)


Parisian Home Cooking
Conversations, Recipes, and Tips from the
Cooks and Food Merchants of Paris
By Michael Roberts
William Morrow & Company
Hardcover, $25.00, June 1999
ISBN: 0-688-13868-3
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


Parisian Home Cooking



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This page created July 1999