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Lemon Cream TartDear Lemon,

I know we used to have a great relationship. And I know that they always say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Well, you haven’t been around. It seems like every time I have needed you, you just haven’t been available. And someone else has.

I have enjoyed building a relationship with Key Lime, but all the while I thought of you. I wanted to see you, and I was looking forward to your presence in my life. But, over and over Key Lime has been there for me. Sure, a little darker, a little smaller, but really adorable when you think about it.

Well, finally you show up. There you were, not really calling out for attention, but just sitting in a way that would catch my eye. I was elated to see you at first. I took you home and kept you out of the heat until it was time.

Our interaction was okay, but nothing really special. You smelled sort of peppery and dull. Sure, you were zesty, and I liked that. But, I have to confess you just didn’t come through for me in the end.

I thought I missed you, but now I know better. You’ve been out of my life for a reason. Now, I will stop thinking of you, wising for you. I will move on and enjoy my time with Key Lime all the more.

Thanks for the memories. But, it is time to go our separate ways.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Yield: Makes one 9” tart or six tartlets

Source: Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 300 grams of unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 recipe of Sweet Tart Dough, pressed into the tart pan


  1. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
  2. Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
  3. Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180F as you whisk continuously – you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point – the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience – depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
  4. As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender; discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140F, about 10 minutes. (Or until cool to the touch.)
  5. Turn the blender to high and add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep blending for another 3 minutes.
  6. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)
  7. When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it (loosen it, ha! it was like soup!) and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart is being served up for Tuesdays With Dorie. This weeks TWD recipe was chosen by Mary of Starting From Scratch. Enjoy more French Lemon Cream Tarts by visiting the blogroll at the Tuesdays With Dorie website.


59 Responses to “TMEFLCT [TWD]”

  1. OMG! Your letter to Mr. Lemon is so cute and sad at the same time. Your tart looks delicious!!!

    Posted by The Frosted Bake Shop | April 8, 2008, 8:41 am
  2. I love the raspberry decoration on top. Very creative post!

    Posted by Shari | April 8, 2008, 8:56 am
  3. Beautiful tart! But clearly not the love of your life. :-)

    Posted by Ann | April 8, 2008, 9:06 am
  4. I still love the look of the tart, but I’m loving the lime right now too. There’s just something about those little green fellows, huh? I still love lemon too, but it isn’t my go to citrus these days. Now, if I could actually get my hands on some Meyers…

    Posted by PheMom | April 8, 2008, 9:21 am
  5. Awww, poor Mr. Lemon!I’m with you, though. This wasn’t really my thing (good, but not the best thing ever… of course, it could be that I screwed up the recipe somewhere along the way)

    Posted by CRS | April 8, 2008, 9:22 am
  6. Too bad you didn’t like it much because oh, wow, is it ever cute! Lovely swirls, it makes for a spectacular looking tartlet!

    Posted by LyB | April 8, 2008, 9:37 am
  7. Same recipe, different results. Last week I wasn’t pleased, this week is it your turn. Although you are not satisfied with the filling, it looks gorgeous.Ulrike from Küchenlatein

    Posted by ostwestwind | April 8, 2008, 9:52 am
  8. F’n hilarious Gretchen. (And just what I needed.) So freaking funny. Sorry lemon let you down. So sad. On the other hand, GO LIME!And your tart is beautiful too.

    Posted by slush | April 8, 2008, 10:05 am
  9. too funny…love the love/hate letter! regardless, the cream and tart look wonderful!

    Posted by Mary | April 8, 2008, 10:05 am
  10. I loved the letter, so clever and funny! Your tart looks beautiful. I love how you decorated it!

    Posted by Karen | April 8, 2008, 10:13 am
  11. Too bad you didn’t love it– it’s *gorgeous*I do tend to find her recipes *way* too buttery though.

    Posted by Tanya | April 8, 2008, 10:50 am
  12. Great post! It looks beautiful!

    Posted by Annemarie | April 8, 2008, 11:21 am
  13. Ha! Long live key lime!

    Posted by Rebecca | April 8, 2008, 11:29 am
  14. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time with Mr. Lemon. Your tart looks very cute! I love the swirl.

    Posted by Heather | April 8, 2008, 11:56 am
  15. Even though you didn’t like it all that much, it still looks beautiful! I found it a bit buttery too, and actually liked the cream a lot more before the butter was added!

    Posted by Erin | April 8, 2008, 12:37 pm
  16. Your tart looks cute and yummy!

    Posted by farida | April 8, 2008, 12:37 pm
  17. Loved the letter to Mr. Lemon. I’m sure with a bit of therapy he’ll eventually find happiness elsewhere. :)

    Posted by Dolores | April 8, 2008, 1:19 pm
  18. Sorry you didn’t like the lemon, but your tart is lovely!

    Posted by Madam Chow | April 8, 2008, 1:21 pm
  19. Such a gentle way to break up with Mr. Lemon! I do love the swirlies on your tart, though.

    Posted by Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) | April 8, 2008, 1:24 pm
  20. Your tart looks beautiful, and it’s a shame that the lemon cream wasn’t to your liking. At least you got a tasty pastry recipe out of it!

    Posted by Mevrouw Cupcake | April 8, 2008, 1:49 pm
  21. Hehe, I love the letter to lemons! Your tart looks amazing even if you didn’t really like it!

    Posted by Engineer Baker | April 8, 2008, 3:22 pm
  22. How funny, I just made the tart dough, and I also totally loved it! The lemon cream sounds excellent in theory, but I know how you feel about the buttery taste (ew). It looks amazing, though!

    Posted by Irene | April 8, 2008, 3:42 pm
  23. What a great idea to swirl couli (or whatever) in with the cream – it’s so pretty. I wonder if your lemons weren’t of great quality? I remember you saying that they’re hard to find where you are.

    Posted by Bridget | April 8, 2008, 4:55 pm
  24. I love your tart with the beautiful swirl!

    Posted by Mary Ann | April 8, 2008, 5:29 pm
  25. Wow, that looks divine – I love the raspberry swirls

    Posted by Tammy | April 8, 2008, 5:31 pm
  26. your brought laughs and tears to my eyes, what did those poor li’l lemons ever do to you! hehe. still looks beautiful with those swirls.

    Posted by mimi | April 8, 2008, 5:37 pm
  27. Those tarts look good. I like the pattern on the top.

    Posted by Kevin | April 8, 2008, 6:05 pm
  28. Absolutely lovely! Sorry you didn’t like it. It’s a horrible shame when you work so hard on something so beautiful, and you don’t really like it. Great letter too! Made me chuckle.

    Posted by Donna | April 8, 2008, 6:36 pm
  29. How very very pretty!

    Posted by Carrie | April 8, 2008, 7:14 pm
  30. Gorgeous tart. Since its your favorite you can pass them my way! ;)Clara @ I♥food4thought

    Posted by CB | April 8, 2008, 8:02 pm
  31. Bye Bye Mr. Lemon… I’ll take him though. Your tart looks great, and I love the addition of the raspberry.

    Posted by Amy | April 8, 2008, 9:24 pm
  32. I love the swirls on your tart! I like lemon, but lime sounds good to me, too. I’m sorry to hear that your cream didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.

    Posted by Di | April 8, 2008, 10:33 pm
  33. Oh, your tarts are gorgeous. I could see a lime cream tart with a blueberry coulis swirled on top, but then any citrus is fine with me.

    Posted by Judy | April 9, 2008, 12:13 am
  34. Look at you… your pictures are just fabulous!!

    Posted by RecipeGirl | April 9, 2008, 12:42 am
  35. See Please Here

    Posted by Akinogal | April 9, 2008, 3:40 am
  36. lemon cream tart… oh yeah! Gorgeous!

    Posted by Aran | April 9, 2008, 6:06 am

    Posted by Cafe Johnsonia | April 9, 2008, 6:46 am
  38. Gorgeous looking tart! I might have miss it in your post, but what did you use to draw the lovely flower on the cream?

    Posted by Piggy | April 9, 2008, 7:17 am
  39. Now that looks fantastic!

    Posted by nicisme | April 9, 2008, 8:54 am
  40. The raspberry swirls look really beautiful. And your break up letter to Lemon was heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time.

    Posted by Jayne | April 9, 2008, 9:47 am
  41. It looks like it was a great learning experience for you–if it’s any consolation, while you had some complaints about the final taste, it looks simply gorgeous from here!

    Posted by Cakespy | April 9, 2008, 11:08 am
  42. Does this ever sound heavenly! Thanks for sharing – hope I can do it half as much justice!

    Posted by jj | April 9, 2008, 11:41 am
  43. Wow~ I’m so loving the rasberry decoration swirled in the tart. I’m totally going to Steal, ehrr, borrow that idea. Looks like a rose tart!

    Posted by Tempered Woman | April 9, 2008, 2:48 pm
  44. Love your letter!

    Posted by Melissa | April 9, 2008, 6:54 pm
  45. Funny post, indeed. And the swirls are pretty, too.

    Posted by Beeb | April 9, 2008, 10:22 pm
  46. Haha cute post! I love the swirl you added – looks beautiful. Sorry to hear you weren’t such a fan of the cream though. I loved the crust too!

    Posted by eatme_delicious | April 9, 2008, 11:06 pm
  47. Just Beautiful! I love the swirl.

    Posted by Dizzee Cake. | April 9, 2008, 11:18 pm
  48. i don’t know if i could break up with a tart that looked like that!btw, i love the fonts you use! what program do you have?

    Posted by steph- whisk/spoon | April 10, 2008, 12:58 am
  49. My lemons obviously need more letters. Your tart is beautiful. I want to go bake now instead of write. Meah.

    Posted by chou | April 10, 2008, 11:55 am
  50. Beautiful tart, but I’m sorry you weren’t thrilled!

    Posted by Natalie | April 10, 2008, 12:25 pm
  51. Nonetheless, it looks like a perfect tart with pretty marbling!

    Posted by Christina | April 10, 2008, 1:38 pm
  52. That tart looks so good Gretchen and pretty too.

    Posted by Julie | April 10, 2008, 4:25 pm
  53. Ohh, the lemon heartache. Gorgeous, even so!

    Posted by Bumblebutton | April 11, 2008, 9:11 am
  54. What a beautiful tart. I love the way you swirled the top. Too bad the lemon let you down.

    Posted by Cookie baker Lynn | April 11, 2008, 9:35 am
  55. Despite your lack of affection for it, this tart looks amazing Gretechn!

    Posted by Cakelaw | April 12, 2008, 6:32 am
  56. i love the beautiful pink swirl! seems like some got a soupy concoction and others something more pourable…mine was thick and spreadable. wonder why?

    Posted by Jaime | April 14, 2008, 2:33 pm
  57. Sorry it did not turn out as you wanted, it still looks wonderful!

    Posted by Tartelette | April 20, 2008, 1:51 pm
  58. Just wanted to let you know that your post is featured on BlogHer, Techniques to Improve Blog Writing! ~ AK

    Posted by Alanna @ A Veggie Venture | May 4, 2008, 9:53 am


  1. [...] or what we affectionately call LEMONS! Imagine my delight! Yes, I pondered the fact that the last time I saw, bought and used lemons here in Peru I was less than pleased. I think I have grown too accustomed to the Peruvian lime to really enjoy lemons anymore. [...]

    Provecho Peru - May 6, 2013

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