Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lemon Tart - Sunshine on a Plate

I cannot believe it! So we had a week of sunshine (and a lot of fierce Mistral wind that normally blows all bad weather away) and of course everybody thought “this is it” - winter over, spring starts! Well, no such luck it seems, the weather forecast has it that snow will come back to Provence Tuesday latest. So the roses we planted yesterday just have to show what they are made of – survive or die!

But before another round of winter blues sets in I decided to bring a little sunshine onto tonights dinner party table. We'll have “Tarte au Citron” (Lemon Tart) for dessert. Our wonderful greengrocer sells those big, fat, juicy organic lemons from Menton on the Côte d'Azur that taste almost sweet. But the magic ingredient are the eggs. I am lucky enough to get them from my friend Berthe who gets them from her former cleaning lady who keeps chicken in her garden. They must be very happy chicken because I have never before had eggs like these: when you use them to bake a cake the cake turns a beautiful golden color.

So take a roll of short crust pastry (you could of course make your own pastry if you prefer, but with the quality of the ready made ones here in France my life is too short to make my own). Blind bake the pastry for 15 min at 180° C, get the shell out of the oven and leave to cool.

You'll also need:
8 eggs
250g sugar
4 lemons plus one for decoration

Juice four lemons, very finely grate zest off two of the lemons , then mix the juice and zest with 250 g sugar and gently heat this mixture in a saucepan, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved. Beat four whole eggs and four egg yolks together, add the egg mixture to the sugar/lemon mixture and heat over gentle heat, again stirring all the time until the mixture thickens. Pour the thick lemon curd into the pastry shell, very thinly cut 6 slices of the 5th lemon to decorate the tart with. Let set in fridge for about 2 hours and voilà: sunshine on a plate!

Tarte au Citron - sunshine on a plate

If you want to prepare an extra fancy version, beat the remaining four egg whites with 100 g sugar until very stiff, omit the lemon slices and distribute the stiff egg whites on top of the lemon curd before baking at 180°c for 20 minutes. That will give you a “Tarte au Citron meringué”.
One I made earlier: Tarte au Citron Meringue


  1. That looks delicious and perfect for spring =)
    And the weather forecasts were correct about the snow. Just when all the snow had finally disappeared in my little village, we got blanketed again last night! I'm dying to feel that Provencal sunshine again =)

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  3. So am I! Woke up to 25 cm of snow but luckily it's thawing fast now!

  4. Yum. Looks like sunshine on a plate :)