Lemon Cream Tart
Edmonton’s Duchess Bake Shop makes their lemon cream tarts by the batches. Think 250 hand-zested and juiced lemons and a five and a half hour cook time for the cream—with stirring that occurs every half hour, on the dot. Luckily, making them at home is a tad easier. And the results? Just as delicious.
1 fully baked tart shell (see below)
½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1½ tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 large eggs
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
⅔ cup unsalted butter, cubed
A few fresh berries, for garnish
Icing sugar, for garnish
Classic Pâte Sucrée
245 g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
75 g (⅔ cup) icing sugar
35 g (⅓ cup) almond flour (finely ground almonds)
¼ tsp salt
145 g (⅔ cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 large egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract or paste
In a bowl, rub lemon zest into the sugar using your fingers. This will help bring the oils out of the zest. Add eggs and whisk until combined. Add lemon juice and whisk again. Transfer to a double boiler. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, whisking and scraping down the sides every 10 minutes or so, until mixture is thick and has darkened significantly in colour.
As soon as the lemon mixture has finished cooking, strain out the zest through a fine mesh strainer. Use the back of a spatula or a wooden spoon to push as much cream through the strainer as you can—you don’t want to lose any of that great lemon flavour!
Gradually whisk the butter cubes into the strained lemon cream until mixture is completely smooth and all the butter is incorporated. Or, use an immersion blender to blend in the butter; this will eliminate any graininess and leave you with velvety, extra-smooth lemon cream.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon cream and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, until set.
When set, remove lemon cream from the refrigerator and mix vigorously with a spatula to soften it up. This will ensure your tart has a really smooth finish. Once you have the desired texture, slowly pour into the shell, stopping just below the rim. Be sure not to overfill.
Return tart to the refrigerator and chill until set (about 45 minutes). Garnish with a few fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar. This tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Classic Pâte Sucrée
Sift the flour, icing sugar, almond flour and salt together into a stand mixer bowl.
Fit the bowl on the stand mixer. Add the butter and, using a paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the mixture looks sandy.
Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix on low, stopping when the dough is barely mixed. Some of the dry ingredients may still be visible.
Empty the dough out onto the counter and press it down by hand to work in the last of the dry ingredients.
Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Pâte sucrée will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. It also freezes well for up to two months.