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I collect and save recipes all with the hopes of making them all!  Of course that never happens and I forget about most of them.  Then there are some recipes that because of the source, I feel they might be too complicated and never make them.

Such was the case when I came upon this recipe for Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream from ‘The French Laundry Cookbook’ By Thomas Keller. I saved it without really looking at it thinking it was too complicated to make for many, many years.

The dessert sounded wonderful but knowing it came from the French Laundry Cookbook I was fearful to attempt the recipe.  But this year I decided it was time to tackle the recipe to bring to someone’s house for their Christmas Eve Dinner.

I was pleasantly surprised that the tart was not complicated to make at all and in fact quite easy.  I rarely make tarts even though I have a tart pan because I was scared that somehow my tart would not look like it should when it came out of the pan!  The crust was easy to make and came out of the pan without any problems.  The sabayon was easy to make the and the honeyed mascarpone cream was so good I could have eaten it by the spoonful.

The results were wonderful.  The lemon left you with both a tart and sweet flavor, the pine nut crust was wonderful and the honeyed mascarpone cream was the perfect finishing touch for tart.

There is enough dough left over from the recipe to make more! Maybe I will be adventurous and make bite size versions of the tart for New Years Eve!

The lesson I learned was don’t be afraid of a recipe and to read it first!  I would have made this recipe years ago if I just let myself try it.  I suggest you try this recipe. It was fun to make something new especially when it tasted as good as this tart!

Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream

From ‘The French Laundry Cookbook’ By Thomas Keller (Artisan)


  • Butter and flour for the tart pan
  • 1/3 recipe Pine Nut Crust (recipe follows)

Lemon Sabayon:

  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 2 large egg yolks, cold
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Honeyed Mascarpone Cream:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon honey

This tart is best served at room temperature, within a few hours of assembling, but if necessary, it can be refrigerated and served cold.

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and refrigerate it while the oven preheats.

Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Use your fingertips to press the chilled dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough.

Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate the shell and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shell is golden brown. Remove the shell from the oven and let it cool while you make the filling. There may be some cracks in the shell; they will not affect the tart.

For the Lemon Sabayon: Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the mixing bowl you will be using for the sabayon. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.

Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl, for even heating. After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add 1/3 of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and when the mixture thickens again, add another 1/3 of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened, light in color, and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be approximately 8 to 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the water as you add the butter. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart shell and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Preheat the broiler. While the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Leaving the door open, brown the top of the sabayon, rotating the tart if necessary for even color; do not leave the oven — this will happen in a few seconds. Remove the tart from the broiler and let it sit at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold.

For the Honeyed Mascarpone Cream: In a bowl set over ice, whip the cream until it is frothy. Add the mascarpone and honey and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the cream is thick and creamy. Keep refrigerated until serving.

To complete: Serve the slices of the tart with the mascarpone cream on the side.

Pine Nut Crust:

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Since the recipe uses only one egg, it would be difficult to cut down, but the extra dough can be frozen for future use.

Place the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the sugar and flour and continue to pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl (the dough can be mixed by hand or in a mixer fitted with the paddle).

Add the softened butter, the egg, and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Divide the dough into three parts. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before using. The dough can be frozen for future use.


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