I love lemon curd but wanted to do something a little different than my standard lemon pie. I used as a stepping off point a copy of the Tartine Bakery’s Lemon Cream recipe that I clipped from a newspaper almost 20 years ago.
Because there is so much whisking involved to get the lemon cream, I cheated on the pie crust. Instead of making my own, I used frozen tart shells from Dutch Ann. To pre-bake the pie shells: thaw and prick bottom and sides of shells with a fork and bake at 350 degrees F, 12 to 14 minutes.
Pure lemon flavor. I ended up eating what didn’t get baked into tarts with a spoon. It makes a delicious lemon pudding on its own.
Lemon Cream Tarts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 tartlet shells (I used Dutch Ann Frozen Tart Shells), pre-baked
Combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in the top of a double boiler set over low heat and prepare to stir for a while. Try not to leave the egg yolks and sugar for more than a moment or two without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks. Whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180 degrees F on a thermometer. This will take at least 15 minutes. It is thick enough when the whisk leaves a trail through the curd.
Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to release the heat.
Meanwhile, cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces. When the cream is ready, pour it into a blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick.
Pour the lemon cream into the pre-baked pie shells and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Store any remaining lemon cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator.