Monday, March 29, 2010

'You Could Be In Paris' Lemon Tart

I wish I was in Paris.

Not digging through the storage bins looking for one of my ancient hard drive backups. Bonus: I've learned that rummaging through boxes in the garage while wearing a skirt is a bad idea.

You see, some mysterious insect bit one of my bare legs while I was digging around out there. I'm trying not to think of which of the loathsome skittering creatures I saw today it could have been. Luckily, there is nothing dangerous (e.g. poisonous) lurking in Seattle garages. Still, that isn't stopping my leg from reacting as if it had been attacked by a swarm of killer bees.

Paris, yea... that would be nice.

You know, pastry is incredibly therapeutic. It's a scientific fact.

If course I'm not in Paris. I'm not lounging outside a parisian bakery sipping coffee and eating my body weight in butter laden pastry.

I'm in Seattle... with really peeved spiders. So, I'm soothing myself with the next best thing: big slices of this tart.

And it is wonderful. This is probably one of the best lemon tarts I've ever had.

It really is helping cheer me up. Though it is doing little for my leg...

The 'You Could Be In Paris' Lemon Tart
(AKA The You Could Be In Paris Not Getting Spider Bites Lemon Tart)
from Luscious Lemon Desserts
serves 10

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir in one tablespoon of the lemon zest and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl or your food processor. Pour the butter into the bowl in a fine stream, mixing with a fork until well blended and it holds together when pinched. If using a food processor, blend the ingredients and then pour the butter into the feed tube and blend for roughly a minute.

Empty the mixture into an 11" tart pan with a removable bottom and press it with your fingertips to evenly line the sides and bottom.

Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until it is a light golden brown. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack while making the filling.

Process the remaining one cup of sugar with the remaining one tablespoon of lemon zest in your food processor for about 2-3 minutes, until the zest is finely ground.

Pour the sugar into a bowl and add the eggs, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.

Beat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and then whisk the cream into the sugar/egg mixture until just blended. Pour this mixture into your still warm crust and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the filling is just set in the center.

Allow the tart to cool completely.

Just before serving, dust generously with powdered sugar, cut into wedges and enjoy.

Back to eating my therapy tart and occasionally scratching my very itchy leg.

Time for another slice...


  1. Delicious! My jealousy of having such a delectable dessert knows no bounds...but not of the spider bite. Although if a wicked spider bite gave me superhuman cooking abilities I might consider it.

  2. Drooling. Yum. And if it's any consolation, I had ALL SORTS of trouble posting pictures today. It's taken my entire day to post because of it. I kept trying and blogger wasn't cooperating. Anyway, I'm glad the picture issue got worked out and I got to see this lemon tart. It looks delicious.

  3. Not to freak you out, but we do have one or two poisonous spiders in Seattle. My friend was bit by a hobo spider a few months ago and it was not fun.

  4. Hobo spiders?

    Oh yea, I forgot about those.

    (freaks out)

  5. I love lemon everything. It is just that time of year. And meringue. Too wonderful! I always pick a lemon meringue for my birthday.

  6. This looks delicious and it looks like I might actually be able to do it. I have a huge batch of 'california lemons' I need to use which I am sure are some weird hybrid of orange and lemon, because the skin is WAAAAY too orange and the juice is almost peppery. Yeah, I did a taste test to compare regular and 'cali'.

  7. Every dessert you've posted from that book makes me drool. Sounds like it's a winner- I may have to just get it (even though I have absolutely no more room for cookbooks on my bookshelf...)

  8. That looks very good. I may have to make one.

    Don't scratch your bite-- that will delay healing and worsen potential scarring. You can try rubbing an ice cube on it, or bandage it so you can't touch it.

  9. I wish I were in Paris, too. Let's just go! LOL!! These tarts are beautiful. I've already bookmarked this recipe.

  10. 'You know, pastry is incredibly therapeutic. It's a scientific fact.'

    Tell that to the dozen Japanese tourists who have to be repatriated every year after suffering from Paris syndrome.

    Was what I was going to say. Then I noticed you were talking about pastry, not Paris. Maybe another dozen get pastry syndrome?

    You should do pie of the month too if you like pastry!

  11. It was definitely blogger having problems. If this happens again, go to and look at 'current issues' on their sidebar. It will remind you that YOU are not the problem, THEY ARE...and then you can feel even BETTER about the self-indulgent treats. Yum.

    Do not take spider bites lightly. Do not scratch. Numb it with cold packs and as soon as it warms enough to itch again, do it again. Seriously.

  12. Well if the spider bite doesn't kill you the richness of this pie will... but what a way to go I guess.

  13. This is an awesome Lemony Tart...
    looks gorgeous, and I can eat more than one slice...
    I am sorry to hear about the bite... pls do be careful.

  14. Looks SO good! I've been eying that cookbook for a while, so I'm glad to know that something that's come out of it is absolutely delicious. Do you recommend that I get the book?

    And I love the bit about the spider! I react the same way to spider bites and it is beyond annoying to be that itchy. As an entomologist though, I have to take offense at your calling your bugs loathsome. :)

  15. I've been following your blog for about a month or two, and it's reminded me how much I miss baking! I grew up in a household where every Sunday there was a new dessert, mostly of the German, Austrian and Eastern European variety. It feels as though it's been years since I've done any baking (which now that I think about it, may actually be the case).

    So, tonight I made your lemon tart. It's in the oven as I'm typing this, and I love how lemony my kitchen now smells. I also can't wait to dig in ^_^

    Anyway, thank you for blogging about all the things you're making, and thank you for inspiring me to get back in touch with my baking roots.

  16. dragonflywoman,

    I'm really enjoying the Luscious Lemon cookbook. Well worth the $13 I paid for it.

    Also, bugs are scary. I couldn't be an entomologist unless I was so terribly farsighted I couldn't tell the difference between a hamster and a tarantula.


    Baking is wondering (it's even better if you can get someone else to clean up your mess).

    The tart smells and tastes divine. I'm planning on making another Sunday for Easter.

  17. what a lovely looking "paris = yes!" lemon tart...

    ms. tell where you purchased the unusually shaped glass plate the slice of pie is gloriously resting on!


  18. Cool on a while wrack? That's either a spell checker malfunction or an insanely clever and subtle pun.

  19. I need a editor who is willing to work for pie...

  20. Linda,

    Unfortunately, they're vintage plates so I can't recommend a place to buy them (other than antique stores and maybe eBay). They belonged to my grandmother or great grandmother.

  21. Hey, you could have just said it was the clever pun (whiling away the cooling time is a wracking experience after all).

  22. the tart sounds absolutely delicious! definitely sounds like a better cure to the spider bite than an epipen!

  23. Hello. This turned out well, but do you think there might be a mistake somewhere? I ended up with an abundance of Lemon/egg/cream mixture and mixed it with more sugar and SR flour to make a cake, which I should have put more flour in because it came out heavy.

  24. The recipe is faithful to what is posted in the book. I've just double checked for accuracy.

    Now having extra filling, that I've experienced myself depending on what tart pan I'm using. After all, not all 11" tarts hold the same volume due to the height of their sides. When I use my french blue steel tart pans I tend to have about 3/4 cup of filling left over with this recipe. When I use one of my aluminum tarts with slightly higher sites I have none left over.

  25. I made this for our family reunion/easter celebration, and it turned out wonderfully! I was a bit apprehensive as the filling is so liquidy, but it set up very nicely. As I was mixing the softly beaten cream into the egg/lemon juice mixture, I found myself wondering why I incorporated air into the cream if I was just going to destroy the bubbles when stirring. I tried folding, but it just wasn't working. Was I just imagining I destroyed all the bubbles? Or can I simply mix in the unbeaten cream? Thanks so much for posting the recipe, it was delicious.

  26. Yea, this tart's filling is frighteningly soupy before it is baked.

    As for the cream, you know... I have no idea. It really does seem to lose the volume you beat into it while folding. I'm not certain if the whipping is a necessary step but I'm trusting the author on this one. Perhaps when I make it again I will play with the method a bit, see what happens.

    After all, I certainly have no shortage of spare lemons around here...

  27. I adore anything with lemon! It's by far my favorite flavor. (and I'm the only one in my family who enjoys it, so more lemony goodness for me!) So I saw this and immediately printed it. It's sitting on my counter right now, actually, next to all the ingredients lined up and waiting to be devoured, and then I realized something potentially tragic: I lack a tart pan. Can I use a standard pie tin or glass?

  28. Yes, but I would be mindful about how deep the filling is.

    You might want to split the recipe between two pans so that the filling is no more than 3/4" deep. To adequately line two pans, you'll probably need to make extra crust as well.


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