Quite possibly the most delicious French lemon tart recipe you’ll ever meet! Created by 3 Michelin Star chef Gérald Passedat for his gorgeous cook book Flavors from the French Mediterranean. Naturally, being in the south of France, Chef Passedat likes to use lemons from Menton in the south of France for “Tarte aux citrons de Menton” but any lemons will do…
Serves 4 | Preparation time: 40 minutes | Resting time: 3 hours | Cooking time: 20 minutes
Sweet pastry crust recipe
Generous 1 ¼ sticks (5 ¼ oz./150 g) butter, diced
2 ½ cups (9 oz./250 g) all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup (1 oz./30 g) ground almonds
¾ cup (3 1/3 oz./95 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 egg, beaten
Lemon cream filling recipe
2 1/3 cups (15 ½ oz./ 440 g) superfine sugar
4 leaves gelatin
3 sticks (12 oz./340 g) butter, softened
Candied lemons recipe
1 1/3 cups (9 oz./250 g) sugar
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) water
Zest of 1 lime
Make the pastry
In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add in the salt and ground almonds, sift in the confectioners’ sugar, and stir to combine.
Mix in the egg to make a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Make the lemon cream filling
Wash the lemons, grate the zest from four, and reserve. Juice all eight lemons, measure 1 2/3 cups (400 ml), and pour into a saucepan. Add the zest, and heat gently.
Beat the eggs and superfine sugar together until light and pale, pour the hot lemon juice over them, and return to the pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute.
Soak the gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water. When soft, drain well and add to the lemon cream, stirring until dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and allow to cool to 100°F (40°C).
Add the butter and process until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and reserve in the refrigerator once cool.
Make the candied lemon slices
Wash the lemons and slice them on a mandolin. Remove the seeds. Make a syrup with the sugar and water by heating them gently in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Immerse the lemon slices in the syrup and allow them to candy over a low heat until the peel is translucent. Cool, then lift the lemon slices out of the syrup and reserve.
Butter a 12 inch (30 cm) tart tin, roll out the pastry thinly, and line the tin with it. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C/Gas mark 3) and bake the tart shell blind for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Spoon the lemon cream filling into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe it into the tart shell, smoothing the top level with a spatula. Decorate with candied lemon slices and lime zest.
From “Flavours from the French Mediterranean”, a delicious recipe book by Gérald Passedat.