A couple years back, I was in the cookbook section of my local library, looking for books on making pasta. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done my reconnaissance properly, and didn’t realize the books I was looking for were at other branches. But while I was in there, another book caught my eye – the Bouchon Bakery cookbook.
It was so big that it stuck out from the shelf, and looked like it would contain good recipes. And yes, I definitely pick books based on their covers…
Imagine a photo of this book right here… but it’s currently stuck in a gap beside our upper kitchen cabinets! We need to take stuff apart to get it out…
Bouchon Bakery has become one of my favorite cookbooks, and contains lots of classic recipes – including the pâte sucrée crust for this tart. I pretty much use this recipe for any tart I am making – whether it be for a frangipane and fruit tart, or classic lemon.
Lemon tart is one of Richard’s favorite desserts. So the other day, I decided to surprise him with a lemon tart when he came home!
I had a recipe from the Waitrose magazine that I was thinking of trying, but I was worried that it wouldn’t be good. (Although, I haven’t had a bad one yet…) Instead, I decided to break out my whisk, and make something I knew would work – this lemon sabayon.
Sabayon is simply the name given to cooking eggs over a Bain Marie while whisking. Unlike other tarts, this one mostly cooks the eggs before you bake, which reduces the possibility of cracks.
The original recipe is for an 8″ round tart shell, and the lemon mixture shouldn’t be whisked too much, as you don’t want to incorporate air. Since my only tart shell is 10″ in diameter, I whisked my mixture a bit fuffier so that it would fill the shell. Turns out I should have done the math on the volume of my shell, rather than the surface area.
The original recipe was an 8″ round that was 1.5″ tall, and my 10″ round was only 1″ high. I ended up with too much filling, and it gave it a slightly weird sensation when eating. Almost like those “whipped” yogurts that were popular a few years ago? Very light and airy tasting, but still lemony. Not unpleasant at all, but it made it feel like something other than a lemon tart.
top this with fresh fruit, and even a dusting of icing sugar – the choice is yours!
So depending on the texture you are after, watch how much you whip the lemon over the stove. You’re not trying to increase the air, just keep it moving so that the egg doesn’t cook in big chunks. Unless, of course, you want an airy-whipped-lemon-tart. Maybe that’s your thing?
If, like Richard, you’re a fan of the classic lemon tart – perhaps give this method a try!
Pâte Sucrée recipe adapted from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook (https://www.amazon.com/Bouchon-Bakery-Thomas-Keller-Library/dp/1579654355).
- Pâte Sucrée:
- 188g plain flour
- 23g icing sugar
- 47g icing sugar
- 24g ground almonds
- 113g unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 0.5 vanilla bean (split open, seeds scraped out)
- 28g eggs (about 0.5 of a large egg)
- Lemon Sabayon
- Zest of 1-2 lemons (depending on size)
- 175 ml lemon juice
- 115g sugar
- 200g whole eggs
- 115g unsalted butter, cubed
- For the pâte sucrée, sift together the flour, ground almonds, and 23g icing sugar. Add any of the almond that doesn't pass through the sieve back into the mixture.
- Beat the butter and vanilla seeds until light in colour and soft, and then sift in the remaining icing sugar. Whip the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until it resembles a sort of wet sand. Tip the bowl out onto your work surface, and press together.
- To make sure all of the vanilla and sugar is evenly mixed, you will use a technique called 'fraiser' or 'fraisage'. Use the heel of your hand to smear the mixture together on the table, then scrape it off the table, fold it over itself, and continue smearing until it's evenly mixed (see image above).
- Pat the dough into a disc, and wrap in cling film, Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C), grease and line a tart pan with a circle of parchment paper.
- To roll out the dough, place the disc between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out until it is large enough to fit your tart pan and lay inside*.
- Press the dough into the corners and fluted edges of your tin, then trim the edge either with your fingers, or by rolling over with your rolling pin,
- Line the tart with parchment paper, and fill with rice or beans.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are starting to turn golden. Remove the beans and paper, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown. If the edges brown too quickly, cover them with some aluminum foil.
- Remove tart from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- While the shell is baking, prepare the lemon sabayon filling.
- Place a large heat safe bowl over a boiling bain marie, and whisk together the lemon zest, juice, sugar, and eggs.
- Continue to whisk the mixture slowly, trying not to add too much air, until the sabayon is lighter in colour and thick. You should be able to draw a figure 8 on top with the mixture and it'll sink slowly. If the mixture is heating too quickly, don't whisk more, simply take the bowl on and off the heat to prevent it from getting too warm.
- Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cubed butter, a little at a time. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
- Pour the mixture into your tart shell, and bake in the preheated oven for 10+ minutes, or until the sabayon forms a skin, and the tart is set but jiggles a bit in the middle.
- Allow tart to cool before removing from the tin, and decorating with fresh fruit or a dusting of icing sugar, if desired.
*This dough is very forgiving - if it cracks or breaks, simply press pieces together. No need to remove and roll again.