Baking Lesson (Week 2): Chocolate & Lemon Tarts Posted by: | September 26, 2011

It’s my second weekend of hectic shuffling across town to go to my baking lessons on both Saturday & Sunday, while trying to maintain a social life and also spend time at home to eat & cook with family. But truth is, this past two weekends have been my most rewarding weekends in Hanoi since I moved back. The time spent at the bakery didn’t feel like hard work as I enjoyed every second of it, talking to the students and bakers about food and pastries. What a bliss!


I do have something to complain about though. I’m starting to cramp up from all the manual mixing and whipping at the bakery. Why, oh why, can’t they invest in a stand-mixer or handheld mixer?? It feels like going to those kung fu schools where they make you do everything yourself, carry your own water back to shower etc. And as I was mixing, the instructor would go “relax the shoulders, use your wrist, don’t tense up your forearm…”. Felt like a scene in Karate Kid!


You must be thinking this bakery sounds really old school. Trust me it is. But beautifully old school and quaint. So much that I never want it to change… It’s like I’m peeking through the doors into an old Parisian bakery:




I watched how the bakers formed tiny French breads and put them aside to rise, and how it rose beautifully into the shapes of bread (after only an hour – this is questionably fast, but I guess speed is crucial at bakeries). Did you know they spray water on bread and onto the oven walls before baking, to create hot steam in the oven for brown, crisp crusts?



Over the course of my 4 sessions, I have made plenty of pastries. Among them were the Caramel Pineapple cake and Honey cakes, which are quite straight forward and I won’t be blogging about them here. But let’s admire that gorgeous cake for awhile still… (for similar recipe and method you can refer to my previous Apple Upside Down Cake):



At this week’s class, I finally ventured into the world of Tarts. I’m not sure why I have been shying away from it all this while. Probably from my bad experiences with savory tarts (I still hate them). But turns out, dessert tarts are really easy (and quick) to make, and can be really delightful tea desserts with all kinds of fillings imaginable. I opted to make Chocolate & Lemon tarts. My 2 favorite dessert flavors. The tart pastry for both are the same, so we baked an entire batch together, and filled half with chocolate and the other half with lemon curd. And finally we decorated the chocolate tarts with melted white chocolate, and the lemon tarts with melted dark chocolate. For me the cherry on top was creating those swirls into the filling using a tooth pick, just like how they do it in soups, coffee or on cookies. Basically just pipe a thin zig zag line of melted chocolate on the filling, then drag a toothpick from top to bottom with a slight curve. I’m still amazed by this trick everytime.


Lemon Tarts (Bottom)


Chocolate Tarts (Bottom)


Here is the universal tart pastry recipe. It should yield about 16-20 small tartlets, depending on the size of your tart moulds. I don’t know why the previous tart recipes I’ve seen are much longer, but apparently this one works. For my bakery at least.


Tart Pastry (Pate Sable)



  • Flour: 250g
  • Butter: 150g
  • Icing Sugar: 80g
  • Eggs: 1
  • Baking Powder: 3g
  • Vanilla extract: a dash
  • Salt: a pinch




1. Combine all ingredients, except the egg, together in a mixing bowl and mix/press them together with your hand, until you have a uniform crumbly mass. Add the egg, continue to press and mix with your hand, but not for too long or the batter will become tough and shrink when baked. Freeze the batter for 10 – 15′.


2. Pick out a tablespoon of batter and roll into a ball. Quickly flatten it on your hand and press into the tartlet moulds as fast and firm as possible. The slower you are, the sticker and softer they get as the butter melts, so move quick! Make sure you press the batter all the way to the bottom and the rims of the mould, then use a knife to scrape off the extra batter protuding out of the moulds.


3. Bake for 25 minutes in 200 deg C. Once done, let cool completely before filling them.


Lemon Tarts (Tarte au Citron)




  • Tart Pastry (see above), baked, cooled and removed from moulds
  • Lemon juice: 150g
  • Egg yolk: 8
  • Granulated White Sugar: 150g
  • Flour: 25g
  • Gelatin: 2 sheets
  • Heavy/Whipping cream: 200g




1. Bring lemon juice to boil and take off the heat. Mix together egg yolks, sugar and flour until combined. Rinse Gelatin sheets in cold water until soft, then add the gelatin into the egg batter.


2. Add the batter into the boiled lemon juice and put back on medium heat. Stir until you can see bubbles popping in the bottom of the pot and when the pot is tilted, the mixture does not stick to the sides of the pot. Cool completely.


3. Whip the cream until stiff (the cream will not move even when the bowl is tilted), and fold into the cooled lemon curd until fully combined. Fill into the tart shells.


Chocolate Tarts (Tarte au Chocolat)




  • Tart Pastry (see above), baked, cooled and removed from moulds
  • Dark Chocolate: 200g
  • Whipping cream: 200g
  • A dash of liqueur (cointreau/cognac/rum)




1. Melt chocolate on simmering water or in a microwave. Add cream and stir to combine until smooth and shiny. Add liqueur.


2. Fill chocolate ganache into tart shells.






7 Responses to “Baking Lesson (Week 2): Chocolate & Lemon Tarts”

  1. Chuc Lev says:

    Not only a passional student, but also an attractive story-teller! Like it a lot… How eager to enjoy Chocolate & Lemon tarts made by… a Karate Kid :p

  2. pham says:

    I’ve just found ur blog and love ittttttt :X

  3. lemonkerdz says:

    Beautiful fotos and amazing looking lemos tarts. they look so profesional. will pin and share to see if i can replicate them. Thanks

  4. Beth says:

    I am so anxious to try making these attractive tarts. How do I go about converting the gram measurements to the standards that all of my kitchen equipment is coded (ounces, cups, tsp, etc.)?

  5. Chris says:


    I chanced upon your blog and wow… really like it.

    For your lessons in Le Croissant, is it taught in English or Viet? I would like to visit Vietnam for baking lessons. Would you have any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance….

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