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.

Gretchen Noelle

My love of food was cultivated early on by my family but has come alive while living in Peru. During the 12 years of living in Lima, Peru, I have also enjoyed numerous trips to other areas of the country. Here on Provecho Peru you will find Peruvian recipes in English, American favorites prepared overseas, news about Peruvian Cuisine and interesting tidbits about life in Peru.

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59 Responses

  1. The Frosted Bake Shop says:

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

  2. Shari says:

    I love the raspberry decoration on top. Very creative post!

  3. Ann says:

    Beautiful tart! But clearly not the love of your life. 🙂

  4. PheMom says:

    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…

  5. CRS says:

    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)

  6. LyB says:

    Too bad you didn’t like it much because oh, wow, is it ever cute! Lovely swirls, it makes for a spectacular looking tartlet!

  7. ostwestwind says:

    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

  8. slush says:

    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.

  9. Mary says:

    too funny…love the love/hate letter! regardless, the cream and tart look wonderful!

  10. Karen says:

    I loved the letter, so clever and funny! Your tart looks beautiful. I love how you decorated it!

  11. Tanya says:

    Too bad you didn’t love it– it’s *gorgeous*I do tend to find her recipes *way* too buttery though.

  12. Annemarie says:

    Great post! It looks beautiful!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Ha! Long live key lime!

  14. Heather says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time with Mr. Lemon. Your tart looks very cute! I love the swirl.

  15. Erin says:

    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!

  16. farida says:

    Your tart looks cute and yummy!

  17. Dolores says:

    Loved the letter to Mr. Lemon. I’m sure with a bit of therapy he’ll eventually find happiness elsewhere. 🙂

  18. Madam Chow says:

    Sorry you didn’t like the lemon, but your tart is lovely!

  19. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    Such a gentle way to break up with Mr. Lemon! I do love the swirlies on your tart, though.

  20. Mevrouw Cupcake says:

    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!

  21. Engineer Baker says:

    Hehe, I love the letter to lemons! Your tart looks amazing even if you didn’t really like it!

  22. Irene says:

    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!

  23. Bridget says:

    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.

  24. Mary Ann says:

    I love your tart with the beautiful swirl!

  25. Tammy says:

    Wow, that looks divine – I love the raspberry swirls

  26. mimi says:

    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.

  27. Kevin says:

    Those tarts look good. I like the pattern on the top.

  28. Donna says:

    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.

  29. Carrie says:

    How very very pretty!

  30. CB says:

    Gorgeous tart. Since its your favorite you can pass them my way! ;)Clara @ I♥food4thought

  31. Amy says:

    Bye Bye Mr. Lemon… I’ll take him though. Your tart looks great, and I love the addition of the raspberry.

  32. Di says:

    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.

  33. Judy says:

    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.

  34. RecipeGirl says:

    Look at you… your pictures are just fabulous!!

  35. Akinogal says:

    See Please Here

  36. Aran says:

    lemon cream tart… oh yeah! Gorgeous!

  37. Cafe Johnsonia says:


  38. Piggy says:

    Gorgeous looking tart! I might have miss it in your post, but what did you use to draw the lovely flower on the cream?

  39. nicisme says:

    Now that looks fantastic!

  40. Jayne says:

    The raspberry swirls look really beautiful. And your break up letter to Lemon was heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time.

  41. Cakespy says:

    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!

  42. jj says:

    Does this ever sound heavenly! Thanks for sharing – hope I can do it half as much justice!

  43. Tempered Woman says:

    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!

  44. Melissa says:

    Love your letter!

  45. Beeb says:

    Funny post, indeed. And the swirls are pretty, too.

  46. eatme_delicious says:

    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!

  47. Dizzee Cake. says:

    Just Beautiful! I love the swirl.

  48. steph- whisk/spoon says:

    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?

  49. chou says:

    My lemons obviously need more letters. Your tart is beautiful. I want to go bake now instead of write. Meah.

  50. Natalie says:

    Beautiful tart, but I’m sorry you weren’t thrilled!

  51. Christina says:

    Nonetheless, it looks like a perfect tart with pretty marbling!

  52. Julie says:

    That tart looks so good Gretchen and pretty too.

  53. Bumblebutton says:

    Ohh, the lemon heartache. Gorgeous, even so!

  54. Cookie baker Lynn says:

    What a beautiful tart. I love the way you swirled the top. Too bad the lemon let you down.

  55. Cakelaw says:

    Despite your lack of affection for it, this tart looks amazing Gretechn!

  56. Jaime says:

    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?

  57. Tartelette says:

    Sorry it did not turn out as you wanted, it still looks wonderful!

  58. Alanna @ A Veggie Venture says:

    Just wanted to let you know that your post is featured on BlogHer, Techniques to Improve Blog Writing! ~ AK

  1. May 6, 2013

    […] 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. […]

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