Lemon Blackberry Tart

September 1, 2012

Guys, this is it. This is THE recipe. This is the one that makes people smile when they take a bite. The one that makes people scrape their plate to get every last crumb they can. This recipe for lemon blackberry tart is the only recipe you will ever need to make people think you are a phenomenal baker.

I took this to work with me to give to my coworkers. I was a little nervous for several reasons. It was the first time I had ever baked a tart. What if the shell recipe I used was awful? After all, it did include a couple unconventional steps, like sticking a Pyrex bowl into an oven at high heat. But more on that later.

Because what was really stressing me out was the fact that I'd never brought any of my baked goods in for my coworkers. Yes, yes, I'm terrible. Despite all my baking, I seldom bring baked goods to work  simply because commuting by bike makes it impossible to cart around goods like cupcakes and cakes. I also often bake on the weekends and am too embarrassed to bring in day-old goods to my coworkers.

Excuses, I know, but in any case, I was nervous because this was the first time my coworkers would actually be eating something I'd made. And I hadn't even had a chance to try it for myself! It'd already been sitting in the fridge for a day -- what if it didn't keep well and the crust had gone soggy? What if it had absorbed other flavors from being in the fridge? What if I had used bad butter and ended up giving everybody food poisoning? What if my haphazard method of shoving it in an old cardboard box to survive the bus ride to work left the tart with some weird cardboard aftertaste? Or worse, what if it just flat-out tasted awful and they were gonna judge me and talk about how sucky my blog is behind my back? Sure, it looked good -- but how did it actually taste?

Well, I'm happy to report that it was gone in less than five minutes. I had several coworkers email me and ask me where I BOUGHT the tart -- they thought it had come from some fancypants bakery near our office and were surprised to hear that it was homemade! People were actually scraping crumbs from the bottom of the tart pan, arguing with each other for the last few morsels. Several people wanted seconds, but it had disappeared too quickly for that to even be a possibility. One guy refused to go get his own fork and used his fingers to eat his slice, explaining that, "If I go get a fork, this'll be long gone."


I actually have to thank Alanna, my coworker, for sending me this recipe. The pie's lemon cream filling is based off of a recipe from San Francisco's Tartine Bakery, known for their bread, morning buns, and of course, long lines. The crust is a brown butter pastry crust that comes from famed French pastry instructor, Paule Calliat. Really, I'm doing nothing but standing on the shoulders of giants. Well, that and an obscene amount of butter and fresh blackberries:

Because really, this is it. I promise this is the only recipe you will EVER need. I'm being serious when I say that. Don't even bother making any recipes from my blog.  Just this one.  That's how good it is.  This is the one that will actually change your life.


Lemon Blackberry Tart
(Adapted from Tartine and Paule Calliat)




Special Equipment:
  • a medium, oven-safe glass bowl with a rim (I used Pyrex)
  • a 9-inch tart pan (I got mine for less than $10 at Amazon)
  • a medium stainless steel bowl with a rim (like this one)
  • a deep saucepan large enough so that the medium stainless steel bowl with a rim can rest securely in the rim of the saucepan without having to touch the bottom
  • an immersion blender (A countertop blender will do, but I used a Cuisinart immersion blender. They come in pretty colors too!)
  • a quick read thermometer (I use the one that Bon Appetit recently recommended)

For the Brown Butter Tart Shell:
(makes a 9-inch tart shell)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon sized squares
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup flour, scooped into a measuring cup with a spoon and unleveled (around 5oz.)

For the Lemon Cream & Blackberry Filling:
(makes about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar



For the Brown Butter Tart Shell:
  1. Preheat the oven to 410 (F).

  2. In a Pyrex type oven-safe bowl, combine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and a pinch of salt.

  3. This is going to sound weird, but place the bowl in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until the mixture is boiling and the butter starts browning.

  4. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and add 1 cup of flour quickly spooning in flour in 1 tablespoon sized chunks. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to stir in the flour until it pulls off the sides of the bowl. The mixture is gonna bubble and smoke, but trust the recipe! This will result in the most delicate crust you will ever eat. 

  5. Once the dough is cool enough to touch, transfer the ball of dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Use the back of your hand to flatten out the dough onto the bottom of the pan, and your finger tips to mold the dough up into the corners and sides of the pan. It's gonna feel really greasy and kinda unpleasant, but go with it. 

  6. Use a fork to poke several holes into the crust. 

  7. Bake at 410 (F) for 15 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and starts to appear flakey. This crust is very forgiving -- it should have hardly any cracks.

  8. At 15 minutes, remove carefully from oven and let rest on a cooling rack. It is ready for filling.

For the Lemon Cream & Blackberry Filling:

  1. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into deep saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.

  2. Combine 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, 3/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over and not touching the water. 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 a thermometer, don't worry -- the mixture should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd. Just be sure to 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. Don't let that happen.  

  3. Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140 (F), stirring from time to time to release the heat.

  4. While the mixture is cooling, cut 1 cup cold unsalted butter into 1-tablespoon sized pieces. When the cream is cooled, turn on your immersion blender (or transfer into your countertop blender) and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending well after each addition and making sure it is fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next piece. This will take longer than you think it will, and the cream will start to turn into a pale yellow with a thick, opaque texture.

  5. Once all the butters have been fully incorporated, the cream is ready. Use a rubber spatula to carefully pour the mixture into the prepped shell, smoothing out the cream with the spatula so that it spreads around the tart pan evenly. 

  6. Add blackberries immediately and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2-3 hours before serving. The lemon cream should be chilled to the point that it will be stable and retain its shape even when sliced. Serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. 



  1. Hi there! I just stumbled upon your website when I Googled "how to get on Foodgawker" lol! It seems you've had the same struggles that I've had when it comes to getting your photos on there. I just received my SIXTH straight rejection from them. Your photos are lovely and I really like your website! I'll have to add it to my list of blogs I follow. Oh, P.S. - Just curious, where did you get your TasteSpotting badge? I can't locate any on their website!

    1. Hi Bailey,

      Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, I still get rejected by Foodgawker and (more often) Tastespotting. Just because they reject you, it doesn't mean your photos are bad necessarily -- the pics just don't adhere to their in-house guidelines. I've had plenty of photos that I thought were good but were rejected by both sites simply because they were too dark or something like that. But hang in there! It's not you, it's the sites :-D

      I got my Tastespotting badge here: http://offthemeathook.com/tastespotting-badges/


    2. Thanks for the reply! I knew I'd seen some TasteSpotting badges around, but couldn't figure it out. These are perfect.

      I'm glad your coworkers enjoyed your tart! It looks delish.

  2. Wow, this looks amazing and makes me miss Oregon berries!

  3. Woman, you have sold me so hard on this tart it's not even funny. I am anxious to make it right away!! Just curious--do you know why the crust calls for butter AND a tiny bit of oil? 99% of the tart recipes I've seen only call for butter. Does it have to do with that weird oven step?

    Good to know it won't crack (very much at least--that's my main issue with tart dough!), but does it shrink at all?

    1. Hi Erika,

      I'm not kidding, this tart is like the best thing on this blog. I'm not sure why it calls for butter and oil (sorry), but I suspect you're right and it has something to do with the weird 'sticking-butter-in-a-pyrex-bowl' step. The tart won't crack too much, but it will shrink. Here's a picture on one of my friend's blogs of the tart pre-filling: http://cookingfoibles.posterous.com/brown-butter-tart-crustfoible-giant-jam-fille

  4. Sounds great-- any ideas on how long before serving it can be made? Or can filling be made and kept separate until day of assembly? Thx

    1. Hi there, I think you can make this tart up to 1 day in advance -- anything more and the crust will start to get soggy. But it definitely holds in the fridge overnight. If you do let it sit overnight, my one advice would to top it off with fruit or powdered sugar before serving because a light skin tends to form on the lemon cream. Nothing serious or tasteable, just an aesthetic thing.

    2. I made this. Instead of a large tart I made 4 smaller ones. My husband and I had 2 the first night. 3 days later we were ready for more. They were still fabulous!


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