Tartine Bakery's Lemon Cream

By • March 2, 2012 29 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe takes the traditional lemon curd process and reverses it, not only saving time, but producing something better, smoother, and lighter in the end. Meet your new tart filling, scone spread, and trifle layer -- and the best lemon pudding you'll ever taste. Adapted very slightly from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson (Chronicle, 2006)Genius Recipes

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice (Meyer or regular)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  1. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don't have or trust your thermometer, don't worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd.
  3. Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, cut butter into 1-tablespoon (15-ml) pieces. When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece. The cream will be pale yellow and opaque and quite thick.
  5. You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days. To use after refrigeration, if necessary, gently heat in a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water until it has softened, whisking constantly.

More Great Recipes: Fruit|Desserts

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Comments (29) Questions (7)


4 months ago sevenfaces

Like J.B. I made a lime version with 3 (extremely juicy) limes. It only took half an hour to come together, which I consider to be pretty much instant! I served with mascarpone cream and almond cinnamon thins. Limey and delicious.


5 months ago Melissa Roels

Has anyone tried adding lavender to this??


about 1 year ago samanthaalison

The first time I tried this, I was very tired and accidentally did 3 yolks and 1 whole egg - did NOT work. I tried it again today, though, and it was absolutely worth making twice. SOOOOO GOOD.


over 1 year ago DessertByCandy

Very happy with the result. I lightened it with 3/4 cup of heavy cream whipped to soft peak and used as filling for cream puffs.


about 1 year ago Sherri

Yum! What a great idea! I am so doing it ~ thanks for the idea!


over 1 year ago KCPittsburgher

Is this recipe safe for me to preserve in a jar?


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

With all the butter, unfortunately I don't think it would be safe.


over 1 year ago KCPittsburgher

i'd love to be able to give this away as a gift and make sure it could last in people's fridges for longer than five days... also need to be able to make batches before christmas, in that case, and store it until it's time to give it away. any suggestions for doing that?

i just tested it tonight, it tastes INCREDIBLE.


about 2 years ago Phoebe

I found that I liked it ALOT better w/out the butter...


about 2 years ago Sheridan Dockery Nice

This technique is in an old Pierre Hermes pastry cookbook, (with Dorie Greenspan); you can also make orange, lime, or grapefruit curd using this method. Chef Hermes also gives the recipe for a killer crust in which to cradle the velvety curd mixture.


over 2 years ago Thesebmama

Topped this with sweetened creme fraiche + garnished with peppermint and violets from the garden. To die for. So good!


over 2 years ago J.B.

Ordinary supermarket butter contains (4 sticks). One (1) stick weighs 1/2 cup, (113 grams), (8) Tablespoons; so for the recipe as it is written, use (2) STICKS to equal ONE (1) CUP. The metric measurement in volume is 229.5 grams. Good luck!


over 2 years ago ChezRocio

What is the weight measurement for 1 cup of butter? Thanks.


over 2 years ago Skinny bitches

Does anyone happen to know what size pie crust/ shell can fit this 2 1/2 cups of luscious, lemony filling?


almost 3 years ago debplusthree

This is the most delicious, addictive, silky & lemony concoction ever... On a piece of homemade Tartine bread? Oh my. Thank you!


over 3 years ago Megan Glor

Oh my! Amazing. I cut the butter to half, not so much because I am anti-fat, but because I am not a huge butter fan, and it is absolutely amazing and wonderful. I used regular lemons, and it's great. Can't wait to try meyer. I am serving with ginger snaps at a graduation party later today!


over 3 years ago Melissa Wood

Absolute lemony perfection. I wish it weren't so good--I could happily eat the entire batch!


over 3 years ago Melissa Wood

Absolute lemony perfection. I wish it weren't so good--I could happily eat the entire batch!


over 3 years ago Can I have a bite?

I made this for an Easter pie with a crumb crust made of Trader Joe's triple ginger snaps. So, so good. I will be making this cream often and dreaming about it when I'm not.


over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Made this with a combination of lemon and orange juice - no Meyer lemons in Nigeria! Love it.....the ease and smoothness of the finished curd is wonderful


over 3 years ago J.B.

Attention Emma Quick - Oh yum! My version was constructed using an abundance of limes. The recipe used 4-1/2 limes. No pie for us; poured the custard into small custard cups right from the blender, and into the fridge, for serving with either strawberries or creme fraiche! Photo to come...


over 3 years ago Helenegordon

This was perfect in a graham cracker pie shell--big hit at neighborhood party last weekend.


over 3 years ago Literary Equivalent

Oh, this is a dream of a recipe - easy, subtle, beautiful.