French Lemon Tart and Pâte Sablée

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This lovely tart will raise an eyebrow or two. It combines a copious amount of lemon juice with a scant measure of sugar to produce a puckery custard that contains no butter or lemon zest. The finished tart is ambrosia for those who love lemon desserts and it is a boon for busy cooks. The tart filling contains just four ingredients, and the recommended pastry shell, a pâte sablée, can be made in a food processor and patted into place. If you are pressed for time, a ready-to-roll commercial pie crust can also be used. Please don't ask how I know that. This is a wonderful company or family dessert. It is not too sweet and it has glorious color. The recipe comes from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. The tart lacks the height and sweetness of a standard lemon pie, but its wonderful flavor and spare simplicity will please the palate of any Francophile. You might want to serve this with macerated berries or a dollop of whipped cream. Here's the recipe.

French Lemon Tart - Tarte au Citron Madame Cartet...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Patricia Wells, Bistro Cooking


2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream

5 large eggs

1 pâte sablée shell (see below), pre-baked and cooled


1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Combine lemon juice, sugar and creme fraiche in a large bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3) Pour lemon cream into prepared shell. Bake until firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool. Serve at room temperature . Yield: 8 servings.

Pâte Sablée...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Patricia Wells Bistro Cooking


1 cup all-purpose flour (do not use unbleached)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten


1) Place flour, butter,salt and sugar in bowl of a food processor. Process just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add egg and pulse just until pastry begins to hold together, about 20 times. Transfer the pastry to waxed paper. Flatten dough into a disk.

2) Dust fingers with flour, then, working very quickly with just your finger tips, press dough into a 10-1/2-inch loose bottomed black tin tart pan. I used a 9-inch tart pan. Press dough up sides of shell and crimp evenly. Cover carefully with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

3) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

4) Prick bottom of shell with tines of fork. Line shell loosely with heavy-duty foil, pressing well into edges so pastry will not shrink while baking. Fill with baking wights or dried beans to prevent shrinkage. Bake just until pastry begins to brown around edges and seems firm enough to stand up by itself, about 20 minutes.

5) For a partially baked shell: Remove weights and foil and continue baking until lightly browned all over, about 10 minutes more. For a fully baked shell: Remove weights and foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Cool for at least 10 minutes before filling. Yield: 1 pastry shell.

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