I thought I’d done a 5 Heart Rating on Tarte au Citron (lemon tart) a long time ago. What is the matter with me!! I love this dessert. It’s really hard to say which one is the best I have had so I will include photos here of all of my favorites. The first one seen here and in the feature photo I had at a bakery in a centuries-old village in France, Villeneuve de Minervois 10 years ago and again a few years later.
See the striping on the Italian meringue? The timing it takes to get that just right is so precise. Especially if you have several ovens going at the same time baking all different pastries and breads. This is the biggest challenge of a professional baker. How do I know this? Because I had the honor and privilege to learn this technique from the best of the best, Jackie Patronne, the Artistic Director and creator of Uppercrust Productions in Gainesville, Florida where I was the baker 35 years ago. To this day, I believe it is/was the best bakery I have ever experienced. Jackie is a perfectionist which bodes well when your life’s passion is French baking.
Speaking of Uppercrust here is a photo of their Lemon Butter Tartelette.
And then there’s the wonderful bakery on Bainbridge Island, Washington, Blackbird Bakery, which does their version with no meringue and it is out of this world!!
My recipe is probably pretty close to Uppercrust’s. They do a mini version as seen here. I do what I call Japanese-size mini version. Which can be eaten in just a couple bites. I believe the balance of pastry crust, lemon curd/filling (yes mine is made with butter like Jackie’s) and Italian meringue is the perfect balance in each bite. Here are a few photos of mine at different stages of preparation.
Whether you call it Tarte au Citron, Lemon Tart, or Lemon butter Tartelette, if you love lemon, I promise you, any one of these versions are a labor of love. It is one of my favorite desserts on the planet.