From Julia Child’s Tarte au Citron to Gordon Ramsay’s Lemon Tart

I am a huge fan of Julie & Julia the movie.   Finally I borrow that infamous cook book “Master the Art of French Cooking” from the library .  Along with that I also borrow James Peterson’s Baking.  Both are interesting read.  It shows the development of cook book over the years.   Mastering the Art of French Cooking has no picture.  It only has a few but very useful hand drawing illustration diagrams.  Peterson’s Baking is completely different, it has a lot of clear and useful step by step pictures.  Knowing how the end product should look like helps tremendously!  I highly recommend you to read both.  Very interesting contrast.  I skipped right to my favourite section –  the dessert section of Mastering and tempted by different tarts.  The recipes look pretty simple and the steps are very clear and well written.  Unfortunately without picture, I just find it is not possible for me to imagine how Tarte au Citron should look like base on Julia’s recipe.  So I started to google image of Tarte au Citron.  Watched through French cooking video – yet I don’t understand any French!  After the video, I thought I have good sense what’s involved so I double check Julia’s recipe and realize hers  is lemon soufflé.  So continue to google again and I finally find Gordon Ramsay’s lemon tart recipe.  The picture looks pretty and I happened to have all the ingredient (not often I have 5+ lemon hanging around in my kitchen).  It is a sign telling me that I should finally start trying Ramsay’s recipe.   Here is my long story how Julia’s Tart au Citron ended up as Gordon Ramsay’s Lemon Tart.

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I first rolled out the prepared sweet paste I learned from Chef Marco on four  small ceramic oval flan dishes and also 9” tart pan with removable bottom.  Then I poke the bottom with a fork bake in 400F for 10 minutes.  That was really too hot for this sweet paste, ended up a bit burn.  Must remember to adjust the heat to lower temp by the end of the baking next time!  While tart shell is baking, I prepare the lemon custard base on Ramsay’s recipe.

  • 6 eggs (supposed to have more yolk than white – 2 whole & 4 yolk)  I ignored that because I needed to fill  bigger pans
  • 250g sugar
  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 5 lemons

First I used my finest grater to get lemon grind from 4 of the lemons and put that into my big measuring cup,  then I juiced all 5 lemons and set aside.  In the measurement cup I cracked all 6 eggs and add the sugar, then I use a balloon whisk to mix sugar and eggs (avoid whisking in too much air  bubble).  Gradually add the lemon juice so they incorporate nicely.  I couldn’t believe that’s all I have to do make lemon custard!  Can anything be simpler than this?  The next step is very important, you MUST strain the lemony egg liquid through a fine sift to remove the lemon grind and stringy bits from the eggs.  I actually strained twice so I have the lemony egg liquid return back to the big measuring cup for easy pouring.

Now you just need to wait for the tart shell to cool down completely, then you preheat the oven to 300F.  I bake my small oval flan dish custard for 20 minutes.  Then keep checking to make sure egg custard is almost done (still jiggly when u knugde it) and take it out.  Don’t over bake!  For the 9” tart, I let it bake for 25 minutes more.  After reading Ramsay’s recipe in more detail, I realize I skipped the melted chocolate layer in the bottom of the tart!  I must add that because I actually find the tart as is without chocolate is a bit soggy.

Here is my monster size measuring cup and look how many lemon I use one recipe!!!

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Kitchen smell so lemony nice that evening…

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. rsmacaalay says:

    That looks so mouth watering!

  2. maguro says:

    Thanks!! I was amazed how simple recipe is! I will not cut corner and remember to add melted chocolate layer next time!

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