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Lemon Poppy Seed Tart

First of all, you may have noticed I've been MIA since last Thursday. Friday was my big sister's baby shower, and I poured all the time I could have into preparing for it with my Mom. So, naturally, the blog came second. However, this week I just can't wait to share everything with you from that beautiful afternoon. Stay tunes, my friends.

Now, to the tart.

It was so fluffy and light.

Kind of like mousse, but still had the creamy softness of pudding.

I made this darling tart to celebrate my husband landing another clerkship for next year. My only regrets were starting this tart so late in the day, and loosing my natural afternoon light in the process. Knowing we were going to eat a few slices that evening, I knew my only chance at a photo would be right away. Unfortunately, making this tart was a little more time-consuming than I anticipated. There were so many steps along the way, and I was wondering if it was even worth it by the end: making the dough from scratch, refrigerating the dough, then pressing the dough into the pan, refrigerating again, baking, refrigerating again to cool, making the custard filling, refrigerating again, pouring it into the crust, refrigerating again...

catch my drift?

Let's just say - after tasting the dang thing, I would go back and repeat the steps a hundred times over again just for one bite of this gorgeous tart. It tasted incredible.

Thinking it was going to be pretty dense, I sliced myself a little sliver of a piece. Well, after my third helping of the "sliver serving", I still felt like I could eat another three more. It was so light but still had all the beautiful flavors you could wish for in a dessert loaded with the familiar poppy seed lemon combo.

If you take this to a BBQ this summer, you might as well file a few retraining orders along the way. People will maul you for this recipe.

Lemon Poppy Seed Tart


for the crust:
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 C sugar
1 t finely grated lemon zest
1/4 t salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk
cooking spray

for the filling:
1/2 C sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 T corn starch
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 C whole milk
2 T unsalted butter
1 vanilla extract
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 T poppy seeds

1. make the crust: pulse the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of ice water, pulse until dough comes together. Remove dough from food processor and form into a ball. Flatten into a thick disk (about 6 inches wide and around an inch tall). Double wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to a day.
2. Lightly coat a tart pan with removable bottom (I just used my springform pan) with cooking spray. Roll out dough into about a 9 or 10 inch disk and press in the bottom of pan and up the sides. Pierce the heck outta the bottom with a fork and place back in the fridge for another hour. 
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tart pan or springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. If using the tart pan, line the crust with aluminum foil. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crust is golden brown - about 5-10 minutes (check oven often, cooking time will vary). Remove from oven and cool completely. 
4. make the filling: Whisk the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt in a bowl until combined. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat (don't boil). Gradually whisk half the hot milk into the egg mixture, then pour it all back into the saucepan with the other half of the milk. Whisk at medium heat, until mixture becomes thick like pudding - about 4 minutes. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature (I just put mine in the fridge), stirring frequently. 
5. Beat heavy cream in a chilled bowl + chilled whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Gently fold mixture into pudding-like mixture, and stir in poppy seeds. Spread over cooled crust and smooth out the top. Place back in the fridge to chill for about 4 hours. 

Recipe source: The Food Network Magazine


  1. There is no lemon in the filling???? It looks so good!!

    Charlotte Moore

    1. Nope! Just is the crust. But MAN does that lemon shine right through! I think if lemon was in the filling too, it might have been too much (and might not have broken down enough to keep the filling as soft as it was).

  2. Just tried this recipe. My husband said, "Delicious" and he loved the lemon in the crust. For the filling, I couldn't figure out when to add the 2T of unsalted butter. My filling was definitely soft. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to more solid. The pudding was more solid, but adding the whip cream made it soft and fluffy.

    1. I'm so thrilled you made this delicious tart, Bekah! (btw, I did a little blog stalking, and that Julia Child's Raspberry Chocolate cake is RIDICULOUS. Holy smokes, woman. You have skills.) The filling for the tart is supposed to be a texture between a pudding and a mousse - so depending on the temperatures of your dairy products, and whipped cream especially, there's always going to be a little vary in the results. I think I liked how fluffy the filling was, though. It was different, and so soft to the taste. I totally apologize for omitting the butter step in the filling - it's supposed to go in right before you take the mixture off the heat. I've added it in now - totally embarrassed about that one.


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