tart15The biggest challenge here is the tart dough. This is very different than regular pie dough and is a little sweeter; hence the name for it is Pate Sucree (Sweet Dough). It is a little harder to roll out and very fragile and crumbly, more like a cookie dough.
I made, and threw out, 2 tarts before I finally tried a recipe that worked.  To make it work, I took inspiration and guidance from two places.  Again, the ideas from American Test Kitchen never fail, so I started there.  In addition, I recently have been reading a new book titled The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer, and I love how everything is so nicely explained.  So these were my two guides.  The original French recipe asks for using a combination of almond flour and cake flour. Since I didn’t have any almond flower I decided to just use the all purpose flour. I tried to make the tart with just cake flour and this is the one that ended up in my trash. The all purpose flour has slightly more gluten and that’s what helps to keep the dough together and prevent it from crumbling.

Serving: 8
Preparation of Pate Sucree – 5 minutes, chilling time 2.5h
Preparation of Lemon Curd – 7 minutes
Baking: Pate Sucree – 25 minutes; lemon tart – 15 minutes
Calories for 1 serving: 390

Ingredients for Pate Sucree
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon of whipping cream or heavy cream
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups of unbleached all purpose flour (plus a few tablespoons more for dusting the work surface)
2/3 cups of icing sugar
¼ teaspoon of table salt
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), cut into teaspoon size cubes, cold

Ingredients for lemon curd
7 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (approximately 4-5 lemons)
¼ cup of grated lemon zest
Pinch of table salt
½ stick of unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), cut into tablespoon size cubes
3 tablespoons of whipping cream or heavy cream

Pate Sucree
Using the food processor is best for this one.  In a small bowl mix yolk, cream and vanilla together and set it aside.
dough in food processor1
In a food processor add the 1 ¼ cups of flour, sugar and salt and pulse it couple of times until all dry ingredients are combined. Now add the butter all over the bowl and pulse at least 15 times all the ingredients together again until you see crumbles.
yolk in
Turn the food processor on, and while it’s working add the egg and cream mixture and process it for around 30 seconds until you see the dough come together.
If you are not using a food processor try to mix the flour and butter first gently with your hands in a bowl to form the crumble.  Then after adding the yolk mixture, mix it less gently to quickly combine the ingredients.
Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and transfer the dough on it, forming a 6 inch disk. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
The dough will be very hard when you take it out of the refrigerator. Let it rest on a work surface for at least 10 minutes. Prepare two large pieces of parchment paper. Lightly flour one side of the paper and put the dough on one piece of the paper and cover it with another. Roll out the dough between the 2 parchment papers.  If you still feel some resistance from the dough, use the rolling pin and hit the dough with it. This will help to relax the gluten more. If the dough becomes too sticky and too soft, put it back into the fridge for 5 minutes to re-chill.
kolaz dough
Roll it from the center out so that it doesn’t get too thin in the center.  For the 9inch tart shell, roll it out until it reaches 13 inches. Don’t add more flour because it will make the dough too hard at the end.
Transfer the dough with the help of rolling pin to the tart shell.  If you are using a removable bottom tart remember not to hold it from the bottom or you will have a surprise that you don’t want after all the hard work you have done.  Lift the dough that hangs out on the side and slide it to the corners of the shell. Make sure the dough is pressed well to the fluted sides of the shell and to the bottom.
dough in shell1
Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove any excess dough. If you tear the dough or don’t have enough in one place, use the excess parts to fix it. Put the tart on a plate (remember you have the removable bottom) and then into the freezer for 30 minutes to chill it down.
Preheat the oven to 375F and adjust 2 racks, one to the lower middle position and the other one to the upper middle position.
Transfer the chilled tart on a cookie baking sheet. Put some tin foil inside the tart and fill it with pie weights or white peas. Place the tarta in the cookie sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and tin foil gently, then transfer the tart to the upper rack and continue baking for 5 more minutes. You don’t want to fully bake the tart but it should be a little brown on the edges.
Don’t turn the oven off, and start preparing the curd.

Lemon Curd
In a glass bowl, whisk together whole eggs with egg yolks, and add sugar. Whisk for a few more seconds until all combined. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt, and whisk again for a few more seconds.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, add butter slices, and cook it all together over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. This is the moment when you can’t leave it by itself.  If you cook it few seconds too long, it will become too thick. It should be slightly thickened to a sauce-like consistency when it reaches a temperature of 170F degrees.
Immediately take the curd away from the heat and strain it into a bowl to get rid of the lemon zest and any clumps. Add the heavy/whipping cream and stir it all together.
kolaz filling
Make sure the tart is on the cookie sheet and then pour the warm curd into the still-warm tart shell.  Even the filling out and avoid any bubbles.
Transfer the tart to an oven on the upper middle rack and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes.
The middle part of the tart should be still a little jiggly when you take it out, but not liquid. It will set pretty quickly in room temperature. Cool it on a wire rack for about 45 minutes.
Remove the metal tart ring and slide the tart onto a serving plate.

Prepare whipped cream for garnish.
Beat 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Transfer into a pastry bag and decorate the tart the way you like it. Use some raspberries or blueberries for a final touch.


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