The cuisine of Gascony, located in the south of France, may be known for its duck, mushrooms, game, and a variety of coastal sea food, but they also know a thing or two about delicious desserts. One such dessert: tartes (or tarts, as we know them Stateside). Tartes come in all sorts of flavors and combinations, as its somewhat like a pie, but it’s not topped with dough. Rather it can be topped with a variety of fruits or other ingredients.
Or, in the case of the tarte au citron, there isn’t really any topping (unless you count the icing sugar) because it’s loaded with lemony flavor already. This recipe comes from Chef David of our Cooking in Gascony culinary vacation.
Tarte au Citron
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Cook method: Bake
Pate sablée (pastry) ingredients
- 310 grams (1 1/3 cups) plain flour
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) icing sugar
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) softened butter
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp double cream
- Pinch of salt
- 140 ml (4 3/4 oz) lemon zest and juice (probably 3 lemons)
- 3 large eggs (or 4 medium ones)
- 90 grams (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- 100 ml (3 1/3 oz) whipping cream
1. Start by making the pastry. Cream the butter along with the icing sugar, and slowly add in and mix the eggs.
2. Add in the double cream, and then sift in the flour and salt into the mixture. Continue to mix to form a paste.
3. Now that it’s thickened, lightly knead the dough with a spatula and then leave it to chill in the fridge overnight.
4. Pre-heat (190°C, or 375°F) the oven to cook the pastry. Before adding the dough to the oven, roll it out, and put it on a large flan (or pie) tin; put it in the fridge to rest for a bit. Then, prick the base of the dough, and bake it blind for about 20 minutes and turn the oven down to 170-180°C (or 325-350°).
5. While that cooks, work on the filling. Start by whisking together the eggs and sugar gently until they’re combined.
6. To the filling mixture add the lemon zest and juice, along with the cream. Pour all of this into a jug.
7. The crust should be removed from the oven at this point. Put the pastry crust on a baking sheet in the oven, and carefully pour the filling into the pastry. This way you won’t have to carry the unbaked tart and risk a spill.
8. Bake the tarte for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is set.
9. Allow the tarte to cool for 30 minutes before serving. If you prefer to serve it cold, you can dust it with icing sugar.
Learn other fabulous desserts like this one, in addition to an array of French cuisine, with a trip to Gascony.
By Liz Hall
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.