There are certain classic sweets that rely less on a long list of ingredients, and more on a simple technique.

This tart is an example. Filled with chilled, intensely lemon-infused curd and served with colorful, ripe summer fruit – it’s the quintessential French-style dessert.

What makes the filling a stand out is whipping butter into the slightly warm lemon curd and transforming it into a fluffy, ethereally creamy cloud.

Summer Fruit Tart

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Summer Fruit Tart

Ingredients

    For pastry:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • For tart:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, sliced into ½-inch pieces; at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups mixed berries
  • 1 or 2 ripe nectarines or peaches, pitted and sliced

Directions

To make pastry shell, pulse flour, sugar, salt and lemon peel in food processor. Drop in butter slices 2 at a time while pulsing. Pulse briefly until butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon water and pulse a few times. Test dough by pinching it – if it holds together transfer to lightly floured countertop. Otherwise add up to 1 more teaspoon water and pulse a few more seconds until it comes together.

Gather dough into ball and flatten into disc. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

With lightly floured hands, press dough evenly into an 8-inch tart pan, trimming any excess on edges of pan. Set pan in the freezer 15 minutes. Bake 20 – 25 minutes until shell is light golden brown and baked through. Cool in pan on rack until completely cool. Shell can be made up to 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic at room temperature.

To make filling, bring about 2 inches water to simmer in saucepan. Have heatproof bowl ready that will fit into pan without water touching bottom.

Place sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs in bowl and whisk to combine. Fit bowl over simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture begins to thicken, whisk leaves tracks and instant read thermometer reads 180°F – about 10 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and pour through fine mesh strainer into another bowl. Cool until cream reaches 140°F.

Scrape lemon cream into food processor and process while adding the butter pieces one by one. Continue beating for another 2 minutes, until butter is completely incorporated and becomes cream light and very creamy. Refrigerate lemon cream 1 hour.

Fill pastry shell with chilled lemon cream and smooth top. Gently combine berries and nectarines. Serve over or alongside tart.

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Use softened butter for cookies and cakes.

Bringing butter to room temperature helps it incorporate better with other ingredients.

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