Chef’s Recipe: James Walt’s Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 | Tags: , ,

Mmmmm! Our guest chef for the Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag episode featuring The Ski House Cookbook was James Walt, of Araxi in Whistler, BC. He shared his tangy lemon tart recipe with us.

I often feel there is no better way to finish a meal than with a lemon tart. This is a particularly nice one because it is neither too sharp nor too sweet. Also, the pastry is quite versatile and can be used for a variety of fruit-based tarts. This tart is best made in a 10-inch/25-cm round pan that is 1 ½ inches/3.75 cm deep.
– James Walt

Serves 10 to 12 (Yields one 10-inch/25-cm tart)


Lemon Shortcrust Pastry

9 oz (255 g) unsalted butter, softened (about 1 1/8 cups or 270 mL)
6 ½ oz (185 g) superfine (caster) sugar (about 7/8 cup or 210 mL)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod discarded
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
18 oz (510 g) all-purpose flour, sifted (about 2 ¼ cups or 540 mL)
¼ tsp (1 mL) fine salt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 egg yolk
½ Tbsp (7.5 mL) water

Lemon Filling

12 large eggs
2 ½ cups (600 mL) granulated sugar
Juice of 8 lemons
Zest of 4 lemons
1 1/3 cups (330 mL) whipping cream
¼ cup (60 mL) icing sugar, for garnish

Raspberry Coulis

2 cups (480 mL) fresh raspberries
½ cup (120 mL) granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon



Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy but fluffy, about 8 minutes.

Add the vanilla seeds. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs, turning off the mixer two or three times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Lightly flour a clean work surface. Combine the flour, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl.

With the mixer at its lowest speed, add the flour mixture in 3 or 4 batches, being sure to completely incorporate one batch before adding another. Turn off the mixer when the pastry comes together in a crumbly mass.

Transfer the dough to the floured surface and knead it briefly until it becomes smooth. Flatten the dough into a 1-inch/2.5-cm round, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly flour a clean work surface.

Unwrap the dough, place it on the floured surface and knead it briefly until the dough is soft and pliable but still cool. Keeping the surface lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough evenly into a circle 14 inches/ 35 cm in diameter and ¼ inch/5 mm thick. Keep the pastry as round and as even as possible.

Set a 10-inch/25-cm flan ring on the baking sheet. Wrap the pastry round onto a rolling pin and transfer it to the flan ring, unrolling it and gently pressing the pastry into the ring, and allowing any excess dough to hang over the edge of the mould (it will be trimmed off later). Refrigerate the pastry for 10 minutes.

Blind-bake the pastry by lining the tart shell with aluminum foil, filling it with baking beans or pie weights, and baking it for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Gently remove the baking beans (or pie weights) and the aluminum foil and return the pan to the oven for another 6 to 8 minutes until the base of the tart shell is pale gold. Remove from the oven and allow the pastry to cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the granulated sugar until well combined. Add the lemon juice and continue whisking until it is thoroughly combined. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at low speed until it just forms soft peaks, then use a spatula to fold it into the lemon mixture. Refrigerate the filling for 30 minutes.

Raspberry Coulis

Place the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the coulis begins to thicken slightly.

Lemon Tart Assembly

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Combine the egg yolk, the water, and a small pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk until well blended. With a pastry brush, paint this egg wash over the blind-baked tart shell.

Stir the tart filling to re-emulsify it. Place the tart shell into the oven with the rack pulled out slightly, then carefully pour the filling directly into the pastry. Push the rack in gently so as not to spill any filling, close the door, reduce the heat to 325°F/160°C and bake for 20 minutes, turning the tart gently if required to cook it evenly.

Reduce the heat to 300°F/150°C and bake for 15 minutes more. Turn off the oven and continue baking the tart until the filling is barely wobbly when jiggled, about 15 more minutes.

Remove the tart from the oven and, using a sharp knife, trim the overhanging crust. Allow the tart to cool to room temperature before unmoulding and slicing.

To Serve

Fill a small bowl with hot water. Dip a sharp knife in the water, then wipe it with a towel before each slice to ensure a clean cut. Slice the lemon tart into 10 or 12 slices. Dust each slice with icing sugar and serve with raspberry coulis.

Wine Accompaniment: Late-harvest Riesling from Germany, Austria, or B.C. would be delicious.

Excerpted from “Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant” by James Walt, with contributions from Aaron Heath & Samantha Rahn (Douglas & McIntyre). Copyright 2009.


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