Lemon Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Sablé Crust


lemon tart with lemon-vanilla sablé / une gamine dans la cuisine

"I wanted to stay as I was
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment before
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past-"

~ Louise Glück, opening lines to "The Doorway," in The Wild Iris

Part of me still thinks it's April. That splintered half is always slightly behind - yet always happy, and hopeful. The here-and-now me knows it's June 28th. Very soon I'll hear the *woosh* of hot air balloons overhead and my other, other half - the one who's always a grey spot on a stormy, yellow field - will give me a subtle nod from up ahead, signaling that this is the half-way point of something I don't want to come to an end. (Sometimes it's better to ignore each other.)

Summer. The word itself is light golden, and billowy like a thin sail. Oh, how I love summer. If only I could capture it in a butterfly net and hold it captive for two extra months.

lemon tart with lemon-vanilla sablé / une gamine dans la cuisine

I made another lemon dessert for you - hope that's okay. Lemons make me forget things like clocks and calendars and subtle changes in sunsets. Tarts conjure up bright, bold textures and patterns, and images of Alice in Wonderland (a beloved childhood summer read!). The Mad Hatter was/is my favourite character.

 "You used to be much more..."muchier." You've lost your muchness." ~ The Mad Hatter

Indeed, I tend to lose mine quite often. Luckily tarts of lemon help me to piece together the missing bits of muchness.

lemon tart with lemon-vanilla sablé / une gamine dans la cuisine

This certainly isn't the fist lemon tart I've made, and it won't be the last. What makes this recipe unique is the crust - a luxuriously crumbly sablé with soft vanilla bean tones and a pleasant lemony afterthought. The filling is a silky mix of sweet milk, lemon juice, and eggs. Everything comes together beautifully!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! I'm staying up far too late star gazing, snacking, and watching scary movies (or binging on missed episodes of Supernatural) and, thanks to bright streams of dusty sunlight on my bed, waking up crazy-early to a semi-working coffee pot and a chatty, manic, cat bird. *Loving* every minute. ♥

lemon tart with lemon-vanilla sablé / une gamine dans la cuisine

Lemon Tart with Lemon-Vanilla Sablé Crust
makes one 9-10 inch tart

for the crust
300 g all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cubes *I froze the butter cubes overnight
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 vanilla bean, scraped - seeds only
1 egg yolk
60 ml cream (1/4 cup) *I used half & half (Be sure it's very cold)

for the filling
3 eggs
14 oz sweetened, condensed milk (1 can)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
98 ml fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 cup)

Prepare the crust: Put the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse a few times - just to combine. Scatter the cold butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse in short bursts, until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add the zest, vanilla bean seeds, and egg yolk - pulse just till combined. Using short bursts, begin streaming in the cold cream. Pulse just until the dough starts to come together on the blade. {Note: If the dough still looks too dry after adding the cream, toss in about 1/2 Tablespoon of ice water.} Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently till smooth. Flatten into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Lightly butter a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Working on a floured surface, *roll it into a 12-inch circle that's about 4mm thick. As you're rolling, turn the dough occasionally and toss a little bit of flour underneath to keep it from sticking to the surface (I always have this problem). *If the dough is utterly un-rollable, you can just press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan...but it might lose some of the crumbliness.

Once you have a 12-inch circle, gently fold it over the rolling pin and, just as gently, unroll it over the pan (try to center the dough over the pan when you do this). Press the dough into the pan and trim away all but 3/4-inch of the overhanging edge. Fold the overhang edge into the tart pan and press the dough together, creating a slightly thick crust around the edge of the tart shell. Save the scraps of dough in case they're needed to repair post-baking cracks.

Refrigerate the tart shell for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line the chilled tart shell with an over-sized piece of parchment and fill the paper with pie weights, dried beans, or dried rice. Press the weights (or beans/rice) down to make sure there are no pockets of air between the crust and parchment paper. Place the tart pan on a thin baking sheet.

Blind bake the crust till the edges turn golden brown - about 25-30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment paper. If the crust if puffy in a few spots, press the poofs down gently with the back of a spoon. Use the dough scraps to patch up any cracks. Continue baking uncovered until the center is cooked - you don't want to see any "wet" spots. Remove the shell from the oven and set aside to cool.

Leave the oven set to 350 F.

Prepare the filling: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweet milk, zest, and juice. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart shell. {Note: Keep the tart pan on top of the thin baking sheet.} Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the center of the filling is set. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool until the tart reaches room temperature - then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

Just before serving, garnish with sifted confectioners' sugar.

adapted from Gourmet Traveller


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful and mouthwatering tart! I'm bookmarking that recipe as I have a few cans of sweet condensed milk to use. Besides, I love lemony treats.



JoeinVegas said...

Thank you - will try this weekend, along with those lovely lemon cookies - something cool for our hot weekend.

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

Your tart wins the prettiest tart ever award, now if only I could have a large slice! (P.S. The opening to this post made me think I was reading F. Scott Fitzgerald :) )

Beth said...

Mmmm, another lemon dessert. I'm feeling a lemon binge coming on and this could be part of it. The poem is beautiful, and I love the Mad Hatter quote.

I love summer too. Even when it's wet, and cool, and darkish (like today), I still love summer.

Chris Scheuer said...

Oh my, this is something culinary dreams are made of. It looks exquisite!

Tartlet Sweets said...

Tarts are the prettiest, and this one is no exception. I think lemon tarts might be one of the most perfect sweets!

Patty Price said...

I ned a lemon tart (like this one) in my life soon, very soon ..I'm so happy you like lemons and make such beautiful desserts with them;-) Have a wonderful weekend ;-)

Jennifer Kendall said...

I feel like rather than being behind in the seasons, I'm ahead - like I'm already dreaming of pumpkin pie and butternut squash. But I do love summer and its produce! I just have so much trouble being in the moment lol. Ahhh this is absolutely beautiful - and that sable dough is divine :)

Kate@Diethood said...

OY! My mouth is all puckered up and ready to devour this deliciousness!

Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet said...

Gorgeous tart! The crust sounds fabulous!

Savory Simple said...

You speak the language of my heart

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

What a stunning tart! You can make a lemon dessert everyday of the year and I will never tire of seeing them. Just wish I had a slice right now.

Carol | a cup of mascarpone said...

Oh how I want to have a slice of this gorgeous tart right now! I haven't had time to eat all day, so I would probably eat half of it! Any left over? ;) Sounds and looks delicious, Val!

Grandbabycakes said...

This is so stunning. That crust is just genius Valerie!!

Anna {Hidden Ponies} said...

I'm glad you're so enjoying summer...can you do so extra muchly on my behalf? You also just made me order "Alice in Wonderland" from the library...I need to read that again this summer. Beautiful, beautiful tart!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

Such a pretty tart! That crust sounds like the perfect base (vanilla bean AND lemon zest?!) for many things

thelittleloaf said...

I love the summer. I love lemon tart. This is the perfect post for me :-)

vanillasugarblog said...

I do love summer, but not this kind of NE humid and constant rain summer.
I am from cali and love the high, dry heat of summer.
All this humidity has made me a swollen marshmallow.
Let's drink cold lemonade and eat this lemon tart?
OK? lol

Tracey Wilhelmsen said...

I love summer so much too. I just wish it would arrive here - June was super rainy without much sunshine to speak of. Your lemon tart would be the perfect antidote, it's so cheery :)

Annie @ Annie's Noms said...

This is beautiful! I love lemon and vanilla together, can't wait to try this crust, sounds absolutely wonderful!

Jennie @themessybakerblog said...

I love that you quoted Alic in Wonderland. I'm a bit Alice obsessed. I've seen all the movies, read the books, and even wrote a long research paper on the story recently in college. It's a fine book. I love your description of summer. You write beautifully, poetically. This tart looks so creamy and delicious.

Lora CakeDuchess said...

I am with you one wanting to have summer last a little longer. This tart is just the way to make it happen. Love this, Val!

Jackie {The Beeroness} said...

For me, summer is citrus flavored. This look fantastic, beautiful job.

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts said...

I am with you, summer needs to last longer - why does it always go so quickly!
And my dear, you can make lemon treats as often as you like!

bellini said...

I could never live without lemon in my life. A good tart is the perfect ending to any meal.

jehanne@thecookingdoctor said...

i envision a lemon tart in my kitchen, but that never happen! Instead I think I am satisfied with just seeing yours, the crust so perfect..and the filling luscious, I want to be your neighbour now ":-)

Averie @ Averie Cooks said...

I have no idea why but have not been getting your feeds the last few posts...gah! this whole google reader transition is just the pits!

Good thing for beautiful lemon desserts. And I know how you are into your lemon recipes - and this is another keeper!

Valerie said...

@Averie: I know what you mean, I'm relying solely on email subscriptions to keep up with everyone...slowly transitioning to Bloglovin'. :D

Erin Dee said...

I love how much you love summer. :) I think I'm just in it for the berries.

And gorgeous tart! Great crust making skills, you have. ;)

emilialiveslife said...

Love your description of summer :) This lemon tart looks stunning, a perfect and elegant dessert for summer. The blog redesign is great as well!

www.you-made-that.com said...

Yes, a lemon tart is perfect for me no matter what time of year it is :) This is a beautiful tart and I bet every bite what worth the effort!!

heinvt said...

Beautiful photographs and lovely recipe.

Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen said...

Charming prose in this post and lovely tart of lemon! So happy you are enjoying summer, Valerie. You had me at, "If only I could capture it in a butterfly net and hold it captive for two extra months." I shall enjoy this imagery the rest of the day...as the sun has finally come out here in Indy late in the day. Once again, beautiful tart! Thanks for sharing. xo

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

Sorry for the absence. We lost power in Toronto because of flash floods, and we were some of the unlucky ones who didn't have electricity for 3 days! Power is back up now, so it's back to blogging business for me! Your sun shiny lemon tart is just the perfect piece for summer! This has got to be the most stunning lemon tart I've seen in a long time. Just stunning!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Trust you to have the perfect looking lemon tart... Anytime I feel like anything puckery, I always search your blog... This looks gorgeous!


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