When life hands me lemons, I like to make lemonade, lemon loaf, lemon squares, and lemon pies. My favorite thing in the world to make though is this Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart. This has been in my baking repertoire since 2004 when I found it in a Bon Appetit magazine. It’s become a family favorite and my good friend Tracey’s as well. Tracey is a formally trained chef at the Cordon Bleu and Stratford cooking school. She also owns an incredible gourmet food company called Epicuria. This lemon tart impresses her, which makes me puff out my chest a little bit. We all have to have something that we can be proud off in our recipe file. This is mine.
Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbsps chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tsps (or more) chilled whipping cream
1 egg white, beaten to blend
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
Lemon slices (optional)
For crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Using on/off turns, blend in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 4 teaspoons cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Fold overhang in, pressing to form double thick sides. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 18 minutes (small cracks may appear). Brush inside of hot crust twice with egg white. Maintain oven temperature.
For filling: Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cream, yolks and eggs in bowl to blend well. Mix in lemon juice and lemon peel. Pour filling into warm crust. Bake until filling is slightly puffed at edges and set in centre, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Preheat broiler. Place tart on baking sheet. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning. Sprinkle tart with 2 tablespoons sugar. Broil tart until sugar melts and caramelizes, turning sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes. Transfer tart to rack. Cool until topping is crisp, about 1 hour. Push tart pan bottom up, releasing tart. Place on platter, garnish with lemon slices if desired. Serve.
Pleasantville note: I don’t put mine under the broiler. I find it’s too easy for it to burn and get away from you. I use my kitchen torch which gives me more control. If you use your broiler, don’t take your eyes off the tart!