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Lemon Tart

lemon tart

READY, SET, BAKE Every minute counts in the commercial kitchen, and pastry gold medalist Eddy Van Damme came up with a silky lemon curd for dessert tarts that takes less than 10 minutes to make. The chef dressed up his lemon tart, pictured here, with meringue, but you can also use fresh seasonal fruits.  

Eddy Van Damme's recipe takes time, but the beauty of it is that you can make the tart shell and lemon curd ahead of time. The lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or you can freeze it along with the tart shell dough four up to four weeks. Simply defrost, and you’re ready to assemble your lemon tart.


Tart shell:
2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 small egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Lemon Curd

Recipe directions: 

To make the shell, place the coconut in a blender or food processor and grind until fine; set aside.

Stir the butter in a bowl with electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sifted powdered sugar, mixing well and occasionally scraping the bowl and paddle. Add coconut, egg, vanilla and salt. Sift flour before adding, then mix at low speed until dough forms. Do not overmix.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or overnight for easier handling.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Before you roll the dough, place an ice-filled cookie sheet on the surface where you will be working the dough for 30 minutes, or you can skip this step by simply rolling the dough on a cold marble surface.

Remove the ice tray and dust the rolling surface with a thin layer of flour. Remove more than half of the chilled dough, storing any leftovers in a plastic bag in the freezer for another use, such as delicious, rolled cutout cookies or tartlets.

Roll the dough into a round disc slightly larger than the tart pan. The dough should be an even thickness throughout, about ⅛ inch. Rotate dough frequently to prevent it from sticking to the surface.

Using both hands or the rolling pin, transfer the dough into the tart pan. Press dough well into the corners and crevices. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, checking midway to see whether the sides have remained intact. Press new dough into any parts that have sagged. Continue baking, and when done, set aside to cool.

While tart shell cools, make the lemon curd, following the recipe above, then into the tart shell and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Serves 6-8.

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