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[infobox bg=”bluelight” color=”black” opacity=”on” subtitle=”The Lemon Tart”]Adventures in Culinary School[/infobox]

Oh, the Level 3 Lemon Tart at the International Culinary School….quite delicious, difficult to master, and all that more enjoyable when you do.  I Instagrammed a pic of one of many I’ve made during this level at school and it was so popular I had to share the recipe and secrets I’ve learned from making this baby many, many times.

Level 3 is interesting in that way – we consistently turn out the same recipes over and over again in an effort to create the most perfect product possible as consistently as possible.  It’s a reflection of what working in a real life kitchen will be like and an important feature of the education provided at The International Culinary Center.

Back to the Lemon Tart….this is one of my favorite desserts.  Not just at The ICC – in life, period.  My mother has a hankering for all things lemon as well.  I definitely inherited the tartness flavor gene from her.  I can’t wait to visit her in April and make her one.  She already flipped out over the Instagram I shared.

The dough on this tart can be a bit tricky.  There is a delicate balance between too moist and too dry, and when rolled out and gets a bit melty if your surface isn’t cold enough because of the soft butter holding everything together.  I recommend making the dough, rolling it out in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and blind baking it immediately but if it starts to get a bit weird on you wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it into the freezer for 5 minutes before rolling.  Once it’s rolled, gently slid the dough (in between the plastic wrap) over a rolling pin, remove one side of the plastic wrap and gingerly place it on top of a buttered tart form.  I’d recommend a piece of buttered parchment paper under the form as well.

When it comes to the filling, allow the lemon zest to sit in the juice for 20 minutes to infuse the flavors then strain before adding to the custard.  You want a creamy custard so removal of the zest is key.  When mixing the eggs and sugar, do so carefully without incorporating too much air to avoid bubbles in the custard but try to get all those pesky sugar granules to melt away into the egg.

Other tips: allow the tart to cool almost completely before removing it from the form.  I like to slice this tart with a very sharp fish filet knife as the crust is delicate and top with a teensy bit of powdered sugar.  Good luck – recipe and procedure are below!

[tabgroup layout=”horizontal”] [tab title=”Ingredients”]Shortbread Dough:

5 1/4 oz softened butter

3 oz confectioners’ sugar

pinch of salt

2 egg yolks

9 oz cake flour, sifted

1 to 2 T ice water, if needed


Tart Filling:

5 oz lemon juice (juice from about 4-5 lemons)

Zest from lemons

5 eggs

7 oz finely granulated sugar

5 oz heavy cream [/tab] [tab title=”Procedure”]Dough:

1. In a bowl cream the butter, powdered sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg yolk one at a time to the mix and incorporate.

3. Add cake flour all at once and mix slowly til just combined. *If the dough is too crumbly, add a bit of cold water.

4. Either roll out the dough and blind bake immediately or wrap and freeze.


Blind Baking the Dough:

1. Turn on convection oven to 350.

2. Roll out dough to about 1/16 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and onto a buttered tart form. Place a crinkled up piece of parchment paper on the tart dough and pour baking beans on.

3. Blind bake until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.


Tart Filling:

1. Wash lemons, grate zest and juice lemons. Set aside.

2. Break eggs, add sugar and beat lightly until smooth.

3. Pour the cream into the egg mixture and mix lightly.

4. Strain the zest from the juice, and add juice to the mixture. Skim any foam off the top and pour into the pastry shell.

5. Cook at 300 for 25 to 30 minutes til filling is firm. If the shell begins to get too brown place an aluminum foil ring around it.

6. Slice when cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. [/tab] [/tabgroup]