A simple pastry always seems to require patience. This Italian Cream Tart is a fine example. Blend and chill and roll the dough. Heat and whisk and strain the cream.


The basic components are flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. Any tart dough will ask for these ingredients. But, our distinctions here are the inclusion of lemon zest and pine nuts.

A stick-and-a-half of butter makes a buttery dough. So, it will easily melt. The dough benefits from refrigeration overnight, then freezing between each step of assembly.



Lemon is the somewhat subtle but unmistakable flavor in both the dough and the cream. Know that the two recipes — dough and cream — will require the zest of 2½ lemons: 1 Tbsp. for the dough and and 1 tsp. for the cream.



Custardy Italian pastry cream is not difficult to prepare, but it does require careful attention. Lots of whisking and temperature awareness. It’s the coveted cream in cream puffs.



As you whisk and heat the cream (patience!) you will triumph when you feel and see the thick custard and the yellow from the egg yolks.

You may even gasp with this custard victory.





Refrigerate the cream overnight, along with the two discs of dough.




After refrigerating the dough overnight, you must monitor it’s temperature. Make sure the dough is very cold before rolling. It’s a fragile dough, that will easily become like spreadable, melting butter.

The dough does smell a little lemony.

Soaking the pine nuts softens them just a bit.

Bake for nearly one hour, until “golden brown.” Be surprised and proud of a creamy slice of this tart, with its delicate crust and sprinkle of softened pine nuts. Your time and patience are well spent.