Tarte au Citron

  • Yield: 8 servings


1 (10-inch) pie shell placed on a baking sheet
A wire whip or electric beater
A 3- to 4-quart stainless steel bowl
1/2cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Grated rind of 1 lemon
3tablespoons lemon juice
A pan of not-quite-simmering water
A wooden spoon
4 egg whites
A pinch of salt
1/4cup granulated sugar
Powdered sugar in shaker


  1. Bake pie shell until it barely colors.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. Gradually beat sugar into egg yolks and continue beating until mixture is thick, pale yellow and falls back on itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in rind and juice. Set bowl over not-quite-simmering water and stir with wooden spoon until mixture is too hot for your finger and thickens enough to coat the spoon lightly. Be careful not to overheat it and scramble the egg yolks
  4. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Fold egg whites delicately into warm lemon mixture. Turn into tart shell.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes in middle level of oven. When tart has begun to puff and color, sprinkle with powdered sugar. It is done when top is lightly brown and a needle or knife plunged into the center comes out clean. If you cannot serve it immediately, leave in turned-off oven with door ajar. It will sink slightly as it cools. May be served hot, warm or cold, but we think it is best hot.

—Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking