This classic French lemon tart is so simple to pull off yet carries elegance as if it was made by a seasoned French pâtissier. Keep this one up your sleeve if you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or even just a backyard summer picnic. The flavours and visual are going to impress whoever you’re dining with, even those with a high tolerance to sour flavours (I tested this on my brother who eats lemons like they’re oranges).
The only constant: change
My mind has been restless.
It has been in this constant loop of the same thoughts. One leading to the other, each the root problem of the next.
Without going into boring details, after a couple years of being trapped in this loop, I finally realized what it is that I need. What it is that I’m craving:
I’ve lived in the same city my whole life, the same city that I was born in. I have never moved schools and I have only ever moved houses once, a mere 10 min drive away. I’ve never been away from home for more than 3 weeks and I have never traveled alone. When I was in university, I applied to one major, I got in on the first try and graduated on time. The most contrastingly different thing I’ve ever done was work as a wedding coordinator between the ages of 21 and 24 while I was studying dietetics. It was different, it was nothing like I’ve ever done and nothing like I will ever do. And I loved every beautiful, sunset-soaked, flower petal-showered, love-filled minute of it.
That’s why I love to travel so much. It breaks me away from my routine. It’s refreshing to be somewhere new, not know where anything is and not know what’s going to happen next.
But, the thing about change is that it can also be terrifying.
So, here I am, trapped in the in-between. One hand holds boundless opportunity for growth, change and excitement but the other holds stability, comfort and familiarity.
Choosing to follow one always feels like giving up or losing the other. This fear paralyzed me from choosing at all.
Until recently, the one thought that was always the loudest in my head asked me, what if I fail if I try something new? But oddly enough, the restlessness of being trapped is helping me find clarity. I’m starting to see that it’s not a failure if I don’t get to where I planned on going, it’s simply a course change.
And so, I have decided to just get started. Making small changes, a little at a time.
I stumbled upon a quote that resonated with the thoughts that had just settled into place:
Little by little, one travels far
And that’s where I’m at now. I’m throwing away plans of where I think I need to be/should be and I’m just going to let things unfold. One step at a time, because each new step is going to present new opportunities. Heck, there may be things coming that I can’t even see yet.
This decision doesn’t seem like it’s a big step forward but it is built up of many little victories and lessons from life experiences. This realization and decision to choose change over fear has been, for lack of a better word, pivotal.
About the recipe
This recipe for a classic French lemon tart is adapted from two of my favourite pastry chefs, Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme. I changed some of the measurements and instructions to make it simpler without compromising the results. Though this recipe seems fancy, it’s actually one of the easiest things to make. If you’re tight on time, you can even make the components ahead of time then assemble on the day that you need to serve it. The tart shell can be frozen and the lemon cream can be kept refrigerated, though for quality sake I would recommend keeping that to under a week.
Key players in this classic French lemon tart
This lemon cream is my absolute favourite because of the sheer brilliance in how it is crafted. Sugar and fresh lemon zest are worked together to release the aromatic oils of the zest. This makes the most FRAGRANT scent to ever waft through your kitchen and the most zesty and tart lemon flavour. I often find the flavour of lemon in desserts a little weak and since I have found this technique, it has been a complete game changer!
The tart recipe is a Dorie Greenspan classic. Unlike regular pie dough, this isn’t flaky or crispy. It’s actually more like a shortbread with it’s characteristic buttery taste and melt-in-your-mouth sandiness – a perfect compliment to the tart and tangy lemon cream.
More lemon recipes to try out:
This classic French lemon tart is very simple to pull off. Yet, it carries an elegance as if it was made by a seasoned French pâtissier. Keep this one up your sleeve if you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or even just a backyard summer picnic. The flavours and visual are going to impress whoever you’re dining with, even those with a high tolerance to sour flavours (I tested this on my brother who eats lemons like they’re oranges).
Recipe for Classic French Lemon Tart:
Classic French Lemon Tart
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
French Lemon Cream
- 1 cup sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- Icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Combine flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor
- Place cold cubed butter in food processor and pulse until coarsely cut in
- Add in egg yolk and pulse until dough comes together into a ball
- Turn out on an UNFLOURED work surface and lightly knead the dough until the last bits of flour are incorporated
- Roll out the dough to 1/4in thickness and lightly press into pan
- Bake with weights for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
- Let cool completely before filling with lemon cream
French Lemon Cream
- Boil a pot of water to use as a double boiler, then turn down to medium high
- Combine sugar and lemon zest in a GLASS bowl
- Whisk in eggs and then lemon juice
- Place the bowl over the pot of boiling water and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens
- Remove from heat, pour mixture through a sieve into another GLASS bowl to remove the zest or any pieces of cooked egg
- Add butter in mixture while it's still hot, whisk together until combined and smooth.
- Let cool until cream is just warm before pouring into tart shell
Putting it together
- Remove tart shell from the pan and place on serving plate
- Pour cooled lemon cream into tart shell and lightly shake so that the cream smooths out
- Refrigerate until cream is set
- Decorate with strawberries and icing sugar
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a comment below and tag @chocolateandconnie on Instagram.
Adapted from these cookbooks: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours and Pierre Herme’s Desserts by Pierre Herme.