This tart is perfection.
Start with the filling, adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours:
2 cups sugarChop the butter into 1 tbsp chunks. Set aside.
grated zest of 6 lemons
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
5 sticks plus 2 tbsp (21 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest the lemons into the top part of a double-boiler.
Mix with the sugar. Squeeze the zest with your fingers to liberate lemon-zest-oils into the sugar, until the sugar becomes slightly damp to the touch.
Beat the eggs until light and foamy. Whisk them into the sugar mixture. Whisk in the lemon juice slowly. Place the double-boiler over top of a pot of gently boiling water. Put a thermometer into the mix.
Whisk the mixture constantly. If you stop for even a minute, you'll end up with lemon-scrambled eggs. Not quite what we're going for.
When the mixture hits 170°F, take the pot off the heat. It will have thickened considerably, much like a custard. Pass the lemon goo through a sieve, to take out the lemon zest.
Add to a blender. Let the goo cool to around 140°F (I found that after sieving into the blender, it was already below 140°F). I have a small blender, and had to do this in two batches.
While the goo is blending, add the butter, 3-4 tbsp at a time (in 1 tbsp chunks). Keep the blender going, you're making an emulsion of lemon-egg and butter. The cream will thicken and lighten into an airy, lemony cream. The texture at this stage is already pure heaven. Put plastic wrap over the surface of the cream so it doesn't develop a 'skin'.
Place in the fridge, and chill for 3-4 hours.
Now, make the crust (adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook):
2 cups pine nuts
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
16 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grind the pine nuts in a food processor.
Pulse in the sugar. And then the flour.
Add the butter, egg and vanilla.
Mix together with your hands into a homogenous mess, then chill in the fridge at least an hour.
Coat butter on the inside of your tart tins. Be generous. Then dust some flour on top of the butter, and shake out the excess. Form the pastry into your tart tins. I managed to get 14 medium-sized tarts from this recipe.
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Bake the tart shells for 10-15 minutes until until golden brown.
When the filling has chilled completely, gently remove the tart shells from the tart pans. Scoop generous dollops of lemon cream into the tarts. Serve immediately.
The lemon cream melts as it hits your mouth. The crust explodes when you touch it with your fork. The flavour is perfect. The texture is amazing.
Next time, I'll make it with yuzu instead of lemon. Yum.