IMG_5015I have been looking forward to this dessert for a long time.  There is just something so elegantly French about a tart.  Chic, understated and totally sophisticated.  On the other hand, citrus in a dessert (especially lemon or orange) just screams Italy to me.  For me, this is as good as it gets.  The two places I love most in the world combined into one simple, elegant dessert.

IMG_5018This recipe is very simple but requires just a bit of advanced planning for chilling and cooling times.  Other than that, it is a snap.

The crust is a lovely cookie dough type crust.  In a food processor pulse turbinado sugar and butter until incorporated.  Whisk together flour and salt and pulse into the sugar/butter mixture until crumbly.  Whisk together eggs and cream and pulse into the dough until incorporated.  Turn out the dough and knead until it forms a smooth mass.  Wrap in plastic and chill.  When ready, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch and line the tart pan.

IMG_4982I have just resigned myself to the fact that these types of doughs are going to crack when rolled and no matter what you do, there will be piecing and patching.  Several years ago I was having dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA.  The wonderful thing about Chez Panisse is that they let you go into the kitchen and talk to the chefs.  Well, I made a bee line for the pastry station.  Once there I watched the pastry chef piecing dough into a tart shell.  I struck up and conversation with him and told him I was surprised that he was doing all that piecing.  He looked me straight in the eye and flat out said that there wasn’t any way to avoid it.  It was the nature of these types of doughs to crack and break and there was nothing you could do to avoid it.  At that moment I gave up even trying to roll this type of dough in one piece.  I just roll it as best I can, fit it into the pan and then set to piecing and patching.

IMG_4998The filling is as simple as it can get.  In a food processor combine lemon and orange zest and sugar and process until fine.  Reduce orange and lemon juice to 6 tablespoons.  In a mixer beat the sugar mixture and eggs until well combined.  Beat in cream and the juice.  Viola.

IMG_5003IMG_5004Scrape the cream into the pre-baked tart shell and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool, chill and decorate.

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