Postcard from Paris: Tarte au Citron

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In Paris, even the simplest tarte au citron (lemon tart) is elegant.

The traditional version is a luscious, zesty filling encased in a delicate pastry crust. It may be topped with meringue, or chantilly. Or it may be served nature, with no topping at all.

Here is one of my favorite versions, from Les Fables de la Fontaine — complete with meringue, chantilly, ice cold lemon sorbet, and candied lemon, on a crumbly shortbread crust.

Do you have a favorite Paris pastry? We’d love to hear about it!

Café Constant for Lunch, Dinner, and in between

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My dessert of profiteroles—a French pastry consisting of golden cream puffs, filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with hot chocolate sauce—remains a highlight of a recent trip to Paris. But the whole Café Constant experience is worth sharing.

A quintessential Paris café, complete with mosaic tile floors, rough stone walls and a zinc bar, this popular neighborhood hangout near the Eiffel Tower doesn’t take reservations; at dinner time, lines grow down the block.

When I stopped at 3pm on a weekday, I found the place empty. But by 4:00, after I had polished off a basket of bread, a grilled sea bream fillet drizzled with pesto, lightly battered deep-fried carrots and broccoli, and a glass of Sancerre, the barstools and sidewalk tables were filled.

Heads turned at the bar when the serveuse entered the room carrying my profiteroles. She had a large shallow bowl in one hand, and a silver pitcher of hot chocolate in the other.

I ate slowly, stopping to take a photo every few bites, and appreciating the contrasts of hot and cold, crisp and smooth. Around me, the room filled with chatter, the tinkling of glassware, and wonderful aromas. I’m still savoring the moment.

139, rue St Dominique, 7th