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French Lemon Tart from John Barricelli’s "The Seasonal Baker"

French Lemon Tart from John Barricelli’s "The Seasonal Baker"
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John Barricelli’s cookbooks are among the most reliable you can keep in your kitchen.  Time after time, the pastry chef’s recipes turn out pies and pastries, cakes and cookies that are the essence of great baking.  We’ve now featured 5 of Chef Barricelli’s recipes –everything from his “Coconuttiest Cake of all time” https://chewingthefat.us.com/2012/08/the-coconuttiest-of-coconut-cake-of-all.htmlto his superb Raspberry Pistachio Cheesecake

https://chewingthefat.us.com/2012/11/raspberry-pistachio-cheesecake-from.html. But I must say that Andrew’s most recent take on Barricelli’s arsenal of unbeatable sweets was simply the best lemon dessert we’ve had in a long time…if ever.  You have to be a lemon lover for this one—and who isn’t this time of year?  The tang of lemons makes every summer evening feel cooler.  And the superb crust is as buttery as any we’ve ever tasted.  The secret is a silken lemon custard with just a hint of almond extract.  The result is a tart that’s a lemon lover’s dream. 


As someone who leaves the baking to Andrew, I am forever astonished when someone describes anything baked as ‘easy to make’.  But that’s what John Barricelli writes of this particular recipe.  I’ll take his word for it.  The pastry is a Pate Sucree, also from “The Seasonal Baker”, the Chef’s 2012 cookbook from Clarkson Potter.  Its taste is similar to a butter cookie and, in fact, the Chef even recommends rolling any leftover bits and cutting them into cookie shapes.  The recipe is for a double crust or two single crusts.  The latter was just perfect as Andrew was making two tarts to take to a dinner party.  You have to build two hours refrigeration time into the recipe to make sure the dough is refrigerated that long so that it’s firm.  Rolled out, the crust is then partially baked using pie weights until it’s just starting to turn golden.  The pie weights are removed. It bakes a little longer and then the filling is added and the  baking process is completed and the whole tart is cooled to room temperature.  At this point you can refrigerate the tarts and serve them just as they are.  Or you can go an extra mile and top the tart with a ring of lemon slices candied in sugar syrup.  Chef Barricelli lets the home chef leave out this final touch.  But need I tell you, not in this house you don’t.  A dollop of crème fraiche and you’re done.   Here’s the recipe:

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