Tangy, the lemon tart unleashes passions: lovers of intensity and bitterness oppose those of sweetness . Be that as it may, this tart inspires our pastry chefs who compete in imagination to create ever more advanced lemon creams, ever crispier tart shells, ever airier meringues !
Traditionally made from shortcrust pastry, the lemon tart is not filled with fruit but with a cream called “curd” in English. It is a preparation made from egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest. This mixture becomes unctuous and slightly sticky with a beautiful bright yellow color, and is distinguished by a powerful tangy fragrance.
Considered as one of the essentials of boutique pastry , it is readily available. Some pastry chefs seek to accentuate acidity and power, for example by decreasing sugar or adding the strength of citrus fruits such as yuzu or grapefruit. Other pastry chefs will on the contrary seek to soften it by bringing the freshness of herbs such as basil or mint.
The layer of Italian meringue sometimes gives way to less sweet preparations such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream or simply nothing.
Note that the addition of a little praline in the recipe suits it very well.
Let's discover together how Jeffrey Cagnes makes this lemon meringue pie with ease.
6 people - preparation 1h10 - cooking 25min - rest 5h30
Ingredients for the lemon pie:
For the plain sweet pastry :
60g of butter
40g icing sugar
15g ground almonds
20g whole egg
1g of salt
110g T55 flour
For the almond cream :
50g of butter
50g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
50g whole egg
For the lemon cream :
40g lime juice
25g lemon juice
3g lemon concentrate
75g whole eggs
80g of sugar
105g of butter
1g lime zest
2 ½ sheets of rehydrated gelatin
For the Italian meringue with lemon zest :
240g caster sugar
90g of water
120g egg whites
For the finish :
QS icing sugar
Jeffrey Cagnes' Recipe
Plain sweet dough :
Like Jeffrey put all the ingredients in the bowl.
Mix with the beater using a hook in first speed until obtaining a homogeneous paste .
Film and reserve the dough in the refrigerator until completely cooled, about 3 or 4 hours.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm
Cut out a 26cm disc and make a circle 22cm in diameter.
Pre-bake the sweet pastry base in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 150°C
Almond cream :
Put the butter in the bowl, add the sugar and the ground almonds . Work on the sheet. When everything is homogeneous , add the egg and mix again.
Once the almond cream is smooth, pipe 150g onto the precooked sweet pastry base.
Bake the sweet pastry base topped with almond cream in the oven for 5 minutes at 190°C. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature .
Lemon cream :
Weigh the lime and yellow lemon juice, lemon concentrate , whole eggs and sugar in a saucepan. Cook until boiling, whisking then stop cooking.
Add the butter cut into cubes, the lime zest and the gelatin, then mix everything.
Level the edge of the pie by grating it gently.
Pour the lemon cream into the bottom of the tart, over the almond cream to the edge.
Freeze for 1h30.
Italian meringue with lemon zest :
Boil the sugar and water. When the sugar is at 115°C, beat the egg whites . When the sugar is at 121°C, pour it over the egg whites that you are whipping.
Cool the meringue while letting the mixer run for about 15 minutes.
Once the Italian meringue is cold , add the lime zest.
Pipe the Italian meringue over the lemon pie just out of the freezer.
Sprinkle with icing sugar . Bake the tart for 2 to 3 min at 210°C to stiffen the meringue. Leave the pie to cool, dust again with icing sugar and zest the half lime on top.
- Jeffrey suggests making your dough ahead of time and letting it rest in the fridge. Roll out in the shape of a large disk , easier to handle than the ball of dough.
- Let the dough rest in the cold again once placed in the circle , otherwise it will deform during baking.
- To obtain a clean tart base, gently grate the edges after cooking to even it out with a sieve or zester .
- Watch your dough when blind baking. If it colors on one side, do not hesitate to turn it over for regular cooking.
- When incorporating the butter into the lemon cream, it must not be hot so as not to melt it and obtain a homogeneous texture.
- Leave the cream to rest for the aromas to develop even more.
- Avoid coloring your Italian meringue in the oven so as not to corrupt the texture of the cream. Use a small torch instead.
- If you vary the citrus fruits from yuzu to citron or kumquat , you will also have to correct the sugar dosages because the acidity varies a lot according to the varieties of fruit.
- Do not hesitate to add herbs or spices in your recipe such as lemongrass , vanilla, cardamom or anise. A few grams are enough to transform a simple homemade pie into a fragrant masterpiece.
- Add a surprise ingredient under the lemon cream like a layer of melted chocolate praline , caramel or peanut butter.
- Replace the Italian meringue with whipped cream or poached beaten egg whites to maintain a creamy and delicious texture.
The important ingredients of this pastry
He is the king of citrus fruits ! Both very acidic and fragrant, it is often used as a flavor enhancer or balance corrector. In the lemon pie, it plays the leading role so you have to choose it well and preferably organic to be able to consume the zest without pesticides ! The best of these are Nice lemons or Menton lemons .
However, be careful with limes because they are rarely organic and give little juice.
Italian meringue is the empress of mousses because it is dense and creamy. White as snow, it is of incomparable resistance.
However, it requires a bit of technique and coordination to pour the cooked sugar at the right time. In addition, it is better to prepare it with a stand mixer in order to properly abound the meringue. It is sometimes necessary to beat about 20min until the meringue goes down in temperature .
Its weak point is its high sugar content in desserts which gives it a unique and gourmet texture like no other meringue.
Useful utensils for this recipe
The pie circle
Be careful, do not confuse the pie ring with the dessert ring !
The latter has high and straight edges while the pie ring has a low edge of about 3cm which is rolled up on itself. This makes it easier to darken the pie.
The pie ring is very easy to use and gives a very clean result.
Nowadays there are pie rings with holes that allow better heat circulation when baking. The results are really professional compared to the traditional pie pan!
The new zesters make it possible to obtain flakes of zest effortlessly unlike the old zesters . These new generation graters allow you to take only the best of the zest without the very bitter white part!
If you like citrus, adopt it because it will change your life in the kitchen.
Discover in video the different ways to decorate your lemon meringue pie like a real pastry chef just by changing pastry nozzles .
Do it yourself !
Now you know the Lemon Tart Recipe by Jeffrey Cagnes and its little secrets. It's your turn to try to master the sweet dough and the Italian meringue..
This recipe is easier and airier than Cyril Lignac 's revisited lemon tart.
With the right equipment and the right recipe, you will perform miracles in the kitchen and surprise your loved ones.
Discover our equipment and utensils for the realization of this pastry by clicking on the image below.