I have posted this recipe and several variations multiple times but the lemon cream is so good it’s time to post it again. Recipes get lost in the volumes of pages on the blog and are all but forgotten. This creamy lemon filling has been used in cakes, to stabilize whipped cream and as is the case here in a tart. I love just eating it on its own, it’s that good!! You can use other fruit and fruit juice besides lemon, I’ve made this with blackberry, orange, raspberry. It always turns out delicious.
The recipe is from Tartine Bakery and I saw it years ago on Food52. Its super easy to make and has always turned out perfectly. The only change I made was that I added some lemon zest to make the lemon flavor even more intense. I used my go too pie crust by Julia Child and whipped some heavy cream for the top, it would be equally good with meringue.
Recipe for Tartine Bakery’s Lemon Cream
Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625 ml)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (5 oz/155 ml) lemon juice (Meyer or regular)
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup (8 oz/225 g) unsalted butter
zest of 2 lemons (0ptional)
Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.
Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don’t have or trust your thermometer, don’t worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd. NOTE: I don’t use a thermometer, the lemon mixture will thicken and coat the back of the spoon, draw a line on the back of the spoon with your finger, the line will stay intact. It took about 11 minutes for mine to thicken properly.
Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat.
Meanwhile, cut butter into 1-tablespoon (15-ml) pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop 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.
You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days.