Ludo Lefebvre offers his best tips for perfecting this classic dessert.
Spring is in the air, which is why we're especially excited for the latest episode of Ludo à la Maison, in which chef Ludo Lefebvre shares his recipe for a Meyer lemon tart. Lefebvre’s favorite part of this tart? The custard, because “everything with eggs and butter is good.” Well put.
Lefebvre uses Meyer lemons because they're much sweeter than the conventional kind. You can drink the juice without adding any sugar, he says. "This is a lemon, really?" he said the first time he tried a Meyer lemon.
Of course, the chef has a host of tips for perfecting this classic dessert. First, even if you're used to using cold, cubed butter for doughs, Lefebvre advises uses cubed, unsalted butter at room temperature, because it makes it easier to mix. Also, if you’re using an electric mixer, be sure to use the paddle function, not the whisk, and start it on the lowest setting, otherwise, the flour will explode all over the kitchen and probably all over you, too. Of course, when Lefebvre was coming up in the kitchen, he recalls in the video, he did everything by hand, and when it came to making doughs, that left one of his biceps a lot bigger than the other, he says with a laugh.
When you're making the custard, Lefebvre advises that you start on low heat so that you don’t burn it — a common mistake in the home and restaurant kitchen. You must also whisk continually—even if your wrist starts to get tired. Also, make sure you use a big enough pot so that you can whisk freely without spilling the custard all over the place — an observation Lefebvre makes after realizing his pot is on the small side!
Another very important tip? When the custard has cooked and you're adding butter into the mix, make sure to use high-quality butter. "Butter is flavor," the chef says. We couldn't agree more.
Finally, once the mixture has cooled — preferably overnight — the chef shows off the technique of blind baking, which helps the dough maintain its shape. He covers the dough with tinfoil, uses beans to weigh it down, and bakes it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. "Don't throw away the beans," he reminds. You can use them the next time you make this perfect springtime tart, Once you try it, you'll definitely be adding it to your regular rotation.
Putting the final touches on the tart by slicing thin lemon rounds and placing them on top of the glossy custard, Lefebvre surveys his masterpiece: "It looks like the sun."