Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lemon Sabayon Tart on a Pine Nut Crust

I brought this tart to my weekly girls' gathering to watch The Bachelor and it was a hit! The Boy had indicated that my American lemon tart last week was too sweet, so I decided to make a sabayon instead for a lighter, tarter flavor.

Sabayon is a light custard with Italian origins, usually made in a bain-marie. I use one of my metal mixing bowls over a simmering pot of water with a slightly wider diameter for the bain-marie. Also, if you watch the Food Network, they usually use a hand whisk and beat very fast. Sorry, I'm short and have to tip toe to look over my pot on the stove, so an electric whisk is my tool of choice here. You have to be a little careful in the beginning too though, and pulse the electric whisk. Otherwise your sabayon-to-be is going to fly all over the place!

This recipe is from Thomas Keller's 'Bouchon'.

Cooking time: 30 mins
Equipment: 9 inch springform pie pan

2 cups pine nuts (I used a mix of pine nuts, almonds, walnuts and macadamias cos that's what I had left in the pantry)
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg (approx. 2oz/60g)
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat your oven at 350F/175C.

2. Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly fine. Transfer into your mixer bowl and add the sugar and flour. Mix well.

3. Add butter, egg and vanilla extact and mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts (I weigh each part) and wrap each piece in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least 10 mins before using. If you are like me and like your crust a bit thicker - which is wonderful with this nutty crust - I divide the dough into 2 equal parts instead of 3. The extra dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.

4. Press the chilled dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of your pie pan. Trim off any excess dough. Bake in the oven for 15 mins, then rotate it and bake for a further 15 mins until pale golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool while you make your sabayon.

Cooking time: 10 mins
Equipment: 1 metal mixing bowl, 1 pot with a slightly bigger diameter, 1 (electric) whisk

2 large eggs, cold
2 large egg yolks, cold
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 3 large lemons)
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold


1. Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.

2. In your metal mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together well.

3. Set the bowl over the pot and whisk the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating - you will need oven gloves for this). After about 2 mins of whisking, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened slightly, add 1/3 of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously for approx 2 mins. When the mixture thickens again, add another 1/3 of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again and add the remaining lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously, turning the bowl, until the mixture has thickened and leaves a trail on the surface when you lift your whisk. The total cooking time should be approx 8-10 mins.

4. Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Divide the butter into 6 pieces and whisk each piece in one at a time.

5. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart crust. Give it a few small shakes so that the sabayon fills the tart crust evenly.

6. Preheat the broiler and, while the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Watch it as it browns in a few seconds, rotating the tart for an even color. Remove the tart from the broiler and let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving. The sabayon will thicken and set as it cools. Serve at room temperature or cold.


  1. I made another one for my Bible Study group today (despite resolution to work on research paper deadline, drat) with small lemons, and have to say that I like this tart with Meyer lemons instead. Meyer lemons produce a richer taste, with a tinge of sweet, and pleasantly, a deeper yellow color.

  2. The Boy, however, likes his tarts tart. So he actually preferred the second tart with small lemons.

    Bottomline: Use Meyer lemons or small lemons to taste.

  3. wow so much good food here!! hehe your cousin btw :)