poppyseed lemon tarte
Dessert, Recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Tart

Cooks in 1 billion hours Difficulty Hard

There’s a reason most of our desserts are “deconstructed.” You can always pile things up to look more or less visually pleasing. A dollop here, a smear there, and some crumbs on top – it’s not messy – it’s ✨deconstructed✨. However, we do like to challenge ourselves and, as always, also share with you our less-than-finest moments. So this presumptuous, elaborate lemon poppy seed tart was born. 

Lemon and poppy seed is a tried and tested combination. We “simply” added a layer of eastern-European-style poppy seed filling to a classic lemon meringue tart.

This is definitely one of our more challenging recipes, and things can go slightly wrong (maybe they did for us, too). But we’ll try and break it down to make it doable and walk you through the whole process. You could use the individual recipes if this cake needs to be easier for your taste and skill set. For example, you could make the crust and the lemon curd filling and build a simpler dessert. Maybe something deconstructed. 

Everything you’ll need to make the lemon poppy seed tart:

Crust:

  • 400 g flour
  • 75 g sugar
  • 75 g brown sugar 
  • 5 g salt
  • 250 g cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

Lemon curd:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g cream
  • 5 lemons, zest and juice (leave some zest for the poppy seed filling)

Poppy Seed Filling: 

  • 100 g sugar
  • 250 g milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon (taken from the curd)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 130 g ground poppy seed 
  • 20 g butter

Italian Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites (goes where you can find those)
  • 200 g sugar (its 700g by now, but who’s counting)
  • 120 g water
  • a tiny squeeze of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt

How to make lemon poppy seed tart:

Make The Crust:

Place flour, sugars, and salt in a food processor, and pulse slightly to mix things. Add the butter and pulse until no butter clumps remain. Add the egg and yolk and pulse a few more times, just until the dough is almost coming together but still crumbly. Tip the mixture on a piece of cling film. Press it together by folding the sides onto the center. You don’t want to knead the dough; just press it to a brick. Wrap the dough brick with the cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180℃ (In the meantime, you can make the lemon curd).

Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it onto a floured surface, and knead it very slightly, just so it keeps together. The purpose here is to keep the butter in the dough cold, or the dough will get tougher and more breakable instead of crumbly and perfect. Sadly the rule of thumb here is: the harder the dough is to work with, the nicer it is to eat. 

Roll out the dough to get a large circular shape around ½ cm thick. Transfer onto your tart pan, ideally with a removable bottom. 

As you can see, it might look messy, even hopeless at times, but it isn’t all that bad. Unlike your last relationship, you can stitch things back together and fill in the cracks and holes. 

Poke the dough with a fork, cover it with crumbled-up baking paper, and weigh it down with some legumes or grains. We used wild rice because nobody’s gonna eat that stuff. 

Blind bake for about 12 minutes. Remove the weight and the paper and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the dough is light brown and dry, like a giant butter cookie. 

Allow it to cool down completely.

Make The Lemon Curd:

The easy part of the recipe (But also somewhat labor intensive).

Whisk the eggs, yolk, sugar, cream, and lemon in a large bowl. Place the bowl over a pot with simmering water (not boiling). The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and the whisk leaves marks that take a second or two before they disappear. Pass the curd through a fine sieve to ensure a super smooth curd, in case some of the egg got overcooked, or any lemon pits managed to sneak into the curd. It also removes the zest that has by now given its flavor.

That’s it! This keeps for at least 5 days.

Make The Poppy Seed Filling: 

Place sugar, milk, lemon zest, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add the eggs one by one while constantly whisking. Cook on medium heat, allowing the mixture to thicken slightly, about 3-4 minutes, then slowly add the poppy seed and butter. Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes. The mixture should be thick, like porridge, by now. Just make sure not to cook the egg. Remove it from the heat and whisk it vigorously if it starts smelling eggy. 

Tip the poppy seed filling onto the tart crust and spread it evenly with a spoon or designated professional pastry chef tool. Let tart chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Then pour over the lemon curd. Chill for at least 20 minutes or until the lemon curd has set. 

Make The Italian Meringue:

The scary part. Honestly, something about cooking sugar and getting the right temperature is a big deal (at least for us). We also forgot our sugar thermometer for this one, so we had to eyeball it (there’s a sugar-related pun here). Things almost went downhill for us, but we still managed to make a decent meringue. Our biggest suggestion would be: don’t try to do other things while working with sugar. Sugar is just waiting for the second you look away to suddenly burn. Always keep an eye on your sweet lava and be prepared to act quickly once it reaches the right temperature. 

It’s time to whisk the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice to soft peaks until it’s no longer translucent but white and can form very light peaks that disappear slowly when you stop whisking. 

Our biggest suggestion regarding sugar work is to always keep an eye on it. Sugar is just waiting for the second you look away to suddenly burn. 

Place the sugar and water in a small pot and cook it over high heat until it reaches 115℃. Sugar is as unstable as us and changes its character when heated up, so accuracy is essential. This also sadly means if you got it too high, you can’t just wait for it to cool down. You have to start all over again. 

Now it’s finally time to put that fancy stand or hand mixer to works you got for Christmas (you can’t do this by hand, sorry). Put on the whisk attachments and go wild: While the sugar is cooking, whisk (on medium-high) the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice to soft peaks, until it’s no longer translucent but white and can form very light peaks that disappear slowly when you stop whisking. 

Put the mixer on medium-low and slowly stream the sugar syrup into the egg whites while constantly whisking. Continue whisking for 10 minutes on high, yes, really. You have now made marshmallow fluff. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe on top of lemon curd. Feel free to get creative with your meringue, we sure wanted to, but those extra few degrees made it a little firmer than we had hoped for and left us with the one option we ended up choosing 😉

Use a torch to slightly burn your beautiful creation.

✨Serve immediately✨. 

poppyseed lemon tarte

Lemon Poppy Seed Tart

The best tarte you'll ever make: A classic lemon meringue tart with an eastern-European-style poppy seed filling.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course dessert
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Crust:

  • 400 g flour
  • 75 g sugar
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 5 g salt
  • 250 g cold butter diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk

Lemon curd:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g cream
  • 5 lemons zest and juice (leave some zest for the poppy seed filling)

Poppy Seed Filling:

  • 100 g sugar
  • 250 g milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon taken from the curd
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 130 g ground poppy seed
  • 20 g butter

Italian Meringue:

  • 4 egg whites goes where you can find those
  • 200 g sugar its 700g by now, but who’s counting
  • 120 g water
  • a tiny squeeze of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Make The Crust:

  • Place flour, sugars, and salt in a food processor, and pulse slightly to mix things. Add the butter and pulse until no butter clumps remain. Add the egg and yolk and pulse a few more times, just until the dough is almost coming together but still crumbly. Tip the mixture on a piece of cling film. Press it together by folding the sides onto the center. You don’t want to knead the dough; just press it to a brick. Wrap the dough brick with the cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180℃ (In the meantime, you can make the lemon curd).
  • Take the dough out of the fridge, unwrap it onto a floured surface, and knead it very slightly, just so it keeps together. The purpose here is to keep the butter in the dough cold, or the dough will get tougher and more breakable instead of crumbly and perfect. Sadly the rule of thumb here is: the harder the dough is to work with, the nicer it is to eat.
  • Roll out the dough to get a large circular shape around ½ cm thick. Transfer onto your tart pan, ideally with a removable bottom.
  • As you can see, it might look messy, even hopeless at times, but it isn’t all that bad. Unlike your last relationship, you can stitch things back together and fill in the cracks and holes.
  • Poke the dough with a fork, cover it with crumbled-up baking paper, and weigh it down with some legumes or grains. We used wild rice because nobody’s gonna eat that stuff.
  • Blind bake for about 12 minutes. Remove the weight and the paper and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the dough is light brown and dry, like a giant butter cookie.
  • Allow it to cool down completely.

Make The Lemon Curd:

  • The easy part of the recipe (But also somewhat labor intensive).
  • Whisk the eggs, yolk, sugar, cream, and lemon in a large bowl. Place the bowl over a pot with simmering water (not boiling). The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and the whisk leaves marks that take a second or two before they disappear. Pass the curd through a fine sieve to ensure a super smooth curd, in case some of the egg got overcooked, or any lemon pits managed to sneak into the curd. It also removes the zest that has by now given its flavor.
  • That’s it! This keeps for at least 5 days.

Make The Poppy Seed Filling:

  • Place sugar, milk, lemon zest, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Add the eggs one by one while constantly whisking. Cook on medium heat, allowing the mixture to thicken slightly, about 3-4 minutes, then slowly add the poppy seed and butter. Continue cooking for about 2 more minutes. The mixture should be thick, like porridge, by now. Just make sure not to cook the egg. Remove it from the heat and whisk it vigorously if it starts smelling eggy.
  • Tip the poppy seed filling onto the tart crust and spread it evenly with a spoon or designated professional pastry chef tool. Let tart chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
  • Then pour over the lemon curd. Chill for at least 20 minutes or until the lemon curd has set.

Make The Italian Meringue:

  • The scary part. Honestly, something about cooking sugar and getting the right temperature is a big deal (at least for us). We also forgot our sugar thermometer for this one, so we had to eyeball it (there’s a sugar-related pun here). Things almost went downhill for us, but we still managed to make a decent meringue. Our biggest suggestion would be: don’t try to do other things while working with sugar. Sugar is just waiting for the second you look away to suddenly burn. Always keep an eye on your sweet lava and be prepared to act quickly once it reaches the right temperature.
  • It’s time to whisk the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice to soft peaks until it’s no longer translucent but white and can form very light peaks that disappear slowly when you stop whisking.
  • Our biggest suggestion regarding sugar work is to always keep an eye on it. Sugar is just waiting for the second you look away to suddenly burn.
  • Place the sugar and water in a small pot and cook it over high heat until it reaches 115℃. Sugar is as unstable as us and changes its character when heated up, so accuracy is essential. This also sadly means if you got it too high, you can’t just wait for it to cool down. You have to start all over again.
  • Now it’s finally time to put that fancy stand or hand mixer to works you got for Christmas (you can’t do this by hand, sorry). Put on the whisk attachments and go wild: While the sugar is cooking, whisk (on medium-high) the egg whites, salt, and lemon juice to soft peaks, until it’s no longer translucent but white and can form very light peaks that disappear slowly when you stop whisking.
  • Put the mixer on medium-low and slowly stream the sugar syrup into the egg whites while constantly whisking. Continue whisking for 10 minutes on high, yes, really. You have now made marshmallow fluff. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe on top of lemon curd. Feel free to get creative with your meringue, we sure wanted to, but those extra few degrees made it a little firmer than we had hoped for and left us with the one option we ended up choosing 😉
  • Use a torch to slightly burn your beautiful creation.
  • Serve immediately.

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