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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tart of the Month: Meyer Lemon Tart

Finally a tart recipe!  I've mentioned before that I'm not a baking expert but I'm trying to learn. I still haven't made a true pie crust, but this tart crust is close.  It does not need to be rolled out and I mixed it in the food processor, so it was pretty easy.  

Meyer lemons are in season this time of year.  They are generally smaller and sweeter than regular lemons. They are actually a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange.  

Here's what you need for this simple, tasty tart:

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated Meyer lemon zest
1 stick cold butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the lemon curd filling:
2 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon corn starch
3 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
6 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  To make the crust, mix the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest together.

Place the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor, with a plastic pastry blade if you have it, and add the cold butter, cut into small pieces.  

Pulse the mixture in the food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Mix the vanilla with 1 tablespoon cold water and drizzle into the food processor as it runs.  The dough should start to come together.  

Remove the dough from the food processor and shape it into a disk on plastic wrap.  Wrap it in the plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

Then, press the dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Spread the dough with your fingers as evenly as possible to cover the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Then place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place a sheet of parchment paper over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake the crust for 25 minutes until golden.  I did not use pie weights and my crust puffed up a bit too much, but it still worked out ok.  

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool.  While the crust is baking and cooling, make the lemon curd filling.  

Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a medium saucepan.  

Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  

Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened.  You'll know it's done when it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.   Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time.   

Pour the custard into the cooled tart shell.  Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is slightly browned and set.  

Allow the tart to cool.  It is easy to remove from the pan with the removable bottom.  Once cool, just push the tart and pan bottom up to remove the sides.  Serve this at room temperature.  Leftovers keep in the fridge for a few days.  This is an impressive dessert but it's so easy to make!  Delicious!  

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