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in the kitchen with: marjorie taylor’s lemon tart

by Grace Bonney

I have recently returned from Paris, where I had a momentary lapse of sanity and bought a total of about 50 pieces of porcelain from mud australia, Astier de Villatte, Le Petit Atelier de Paris; a Tod’s Pashmy, and of course…a little hard sided suitcase to carry it all home (NB: The sales in Paris were off the chain this year). Chris Chun was nice enough to hand carry all the way from Australia, two paintings which I purchased last autumn, and I used Pia Jane Bijkerk’s “Paris by Hand” book to guide me through the city. In the evenings, when I sat down to dinner each night with friends, there was always a lemon tart on the menu, so it was serendipity when Marjorie Taylor, of The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune, France, offered to share her recipe for a Lemon Tart with us, right as I was packing to come home from Paris. This one will definitely impress, and I’m tempted to try with other citrus flavors! – Kristina

CLICK HERE for the full Lemon Tart recipe (and more about Marjorie) after the jump!

About Marjorie: Marjorie Taylor is the cook behind The Cook’s Atelier – a small 17th century apartment in the center of Beaune- devoted to exploring the regional culinary traditions, local artisans and sustainable farmers in France. Her writing and photography have been featured on a variety of print and online publications, including Culinate, Apartment Therapy: the Kitchn, Trufflepig: The Sounder, Sustainable Table and Eat Well Guides’ blog, the green fork.  Her blog, The Cook’s Atelier, focuses on real food that is fresh, local and sustainable and combines her interest in food, photography, travel and the connection between the farmer and the cook.

Prior to moving to France, she was co-chef/proprietor of the award winning restaurant and cooking school, Ruby Beet Gourmet, in Phoenix, Arizona. She studied at LaVarenne under noted teacher and cookbook author, Anne Willan.

Lemon Tart
(photography by Kristina Gill)

Note from Kristina: You can always do these types of recipes over two days, preparing first the pastry shell, and then filling it later.

Pâte sucrée

Makes enough pastry for 2 tarts

1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
A pinch of sea salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Whisk the cream and the eggs together in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter.  Using your fingers, incorporate the butter until you have a coarse meal.  Gradually add the cream and yolks, and mix until just combined.  Be careful not to overwork the dough.  Bring the dough together with your hands to incorporate completely.  Divide the dough in half, shape into disks, and wrap one of them to freeze and use later.

If the dough is soft, put it into the refrigerator for a few minutes prior to rolling.  Place it on a lightly floured work surface, and sprinkle with a little bit of flour.  Roll it into a 1/4-inch-thick circle, flouring as needed. Started at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over the 9-inch tart pan.  Gently press the dough into the pan, being careful not to stretch it as this will cause it to shrink when baking.  To remove the excess dough, work your way around the edge pinching off the excess dough with your fingers.  Chill for 1 hour before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375o

Line the tart pan with the pâte sucrée.  Prick the bottom with a fork and line the shell with parchment paper.  Fill the lined tart with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully remove the parchment paper and dried beans.  Return the tart to the oven, and bake until golden brown turning as needed to ensure even color.  Set aside on a rack to cool completely.

Lemon Curd

Makes enough filling for one nine-inch (23cm) tart, or about ten 3.5” (9cm) mini-tarts, depending on their depth

4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lemon juice, about 5 lemons
5 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

A pinch of sea salt

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice together in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the lemon curd has thickened and coats the back of the spoon, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. (The consistency is like melted-ice cream)

Remove the lemon curd from the heat and add the butter a little at a time, stirring to incorporate each addition before adding more.  Season with the sea salt.

Strain the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell(s) while the curd is still warm. Decorate the tart with thin slices of lemon and chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraiche.

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  • this makes my mouth water and now i long for spring/summer even more than when my socks got wet in the snow this morning.

  • thinking of making this today! though, the instructions say to make this into one 9″ tart, whereas the photos show individual, smaller tarts. what types of pan did she use to create these smaller, straight sided ones? it’s also hard to figure out exactly how large these individual ones are…

  • @DC Sarah – That’s mud’s new yellow color– wonderful isn’t it?? Matches the lemon curd quite well!!

    @Danielle – fortunately, you can do this recipe any time of year. Marjorie prefers seasonal cooking, but for the column, she chose a recipe which will work well any time of year.

    @Kay – I styled the food and shot the photos, so I will answer the photo specific question you had. It was easier for me to use 3.5 inch (9cm) pastry rings to form the shells. They were about 1″-1.5″ (2.5-3.75cm) deep.

    I did this because the tarts in Paris that my friends ordered were straight sided, they are easier to work with, and because of The Book of Tarts by Maury Rubin, which is one of my favorite books. (I “learned” to make tarts from that book years ago)

  • Thanks you for this introduction to Marjorie’s beautiful site! I have lived in Burgundy and often thought of returning. This is wonderful.

  • seriously, i wish i was eating this right this second. lemon tarts are my absolute favorite, and this one looks devine.

    now if only i had some fresh parisian pottery to tuck into as well.
    cannot wait to go look at marjorie’s site. yummy all around!

  • Beautiful! So excited to make this soon.

    Totally understand the buying porcelain/art while travelling. It’s a gift that keeps on giving…even if it is hard to get home – and i love the sales in Paris in Jan/Feb, they are my favourite in the world!

  • i’ve been searching for a good recipe ever since i’ve had them at erik kayser! thanks for posting this :)

  • O.K., whenever I read a post and it’s starts…I recently returned from Paris…I’m hooked! Lucky you, and thanks for sharing what looks like an incredible recipe! Can’t wait to try it out!

  • the rustic look of the crust is a nice departure from the refined, crimped edge you usually see on tarts. all about it. it makes them very unintimidating.

  • Hello everyone. Thank you for your kind comments.

    DC – A lemon tart is the perfect dessert to brighten up your day.

    Teresa – They really are that good!

    Danielle – It’s just around the corner.

    Kay W – hope you give the recipe a try. Regarding the tart rings, Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table have a nice selection.

    Anna – Thank you for your nice comment regarding my site. I hope you visit often.

    Jen – This is a really great recipe, I hope you give it a try.

    Grace and Kristina – Thank you both for the opportunity to participate in your In the Kitchen series at Design*Sponge. It’s been a pleasure.

  • I love Pia Jane Bijkerk’s book and can’t wait to use it to guide me through the city too – was it as awesome as I dream it to be??

  • Priya – They really are my favorite too.

    Beth – When meyer lemons are in season, I use them for this tart. They are a little less acidic than regular lemons and make a lovely tart.

    Sarj – I hope you give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.

  • oh how i looooove this tarte au citron being the first thing i see today! it’s just like a tarte au soleil! i usually only like the tartes au citron with meringue, but this on eis too sunny forme not to try! thank you! and the recipe comes from my hometown…sigh….

  • ohh! These tarts look so yummy. I am always afraid to tackle tarts, but this seems easy! I will have to try it and report back :)

  • WOW! My favorite dessert! Lemon tarts always feel light after dinner. I am bookmarking this page…. may actually give it a try :-) Thank you!

  • I have made 3 jars of lemon curd in the last week. And they’re all eaten! I made little tarts just like these last Thursday. Cream is not optional.

    Thanks for this recipe — I’m keen to try the pastry.

  • I have never made a tart or pie before, but I made this last night with incredible results. The hardest part was waiting the final hours for it to set. It’s beautiful, tangy, sweet, silky, and flaky. Thanks!!

  • I made this recipe yesterday and it was divine. I used to work in a French bakery in Toronto, CA and the pastry chef would make the most delicious tart au citron. I never thought I would be able to achieve the not quite sour not quite sweet lemon taste, but this recipe hit it on the nose. I will definitely be linking you on my blog, this recipe is a must share! Thank you so much!

  • Meyer lemon reminds me of our wedding. I am not sure why I never new about this feature–I found it from following Gill’s pret a voyager feature… After we were featured I decided check out the other boarding pass members. So glad I found this part of D*S

  • Hi Marjorie – I’ve made the pastry and am about to do the lemon curd – am making this for a friend’s party to show off what I learned on the course in Beaune just 2 weeks ago – wish we were starting it all over again right now!Elizabeth xo