Citrus desserts like this lemon tart are just right for enjoying in the springtime. I offered to bring dessert to my family’s Mother’s Day dinner, and since both my mom and I were craving something along the lines of lemon cream pie, I had an easy time deciding on this lemon tart. This was the first time I’ve made this recipe, but it surely will not be the last. A sweet pastry shell is filled with a tart lemon curd filling and topped with sweet, freshly whipped cream. What more is there to say? It was love at first bite.
One year ago: Restaurant Style Salsa
For the Sweet Tart Pastry Shell:
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 2/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For the tart filling:
- 7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar (7 7/8 ounces)
- 2/3 cup juice plus 1/4 cup finely grated zest from 4 to 5 medium lemons
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 3 tbsp. heavy cream
- Freshly whipped cream
- Prepare and bake the tart shell: Whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper to a 13-inch round. (If the dough is soft and sticky, slip it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.) Transfer the dough to a tart pan by rolling the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling over a 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Working around the edge of the pan, ease the dough onto the pan corners by gently lifting the edge with one hand while pressing it into the corners with the other hand. Press the dough against the fluted sides of the pan. (If some sections of the edge are too thin, reinforce them by folding the excess dough back on itself.) Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to remove the excess dough. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze 30 minutes. (The dough-lined tart pan can be sealed in a gallon-size ziploc bag and frozen up to 1 month.)
- Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edge, and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and pie weights. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Set the baking sheet with the tart shell on a wire rack.
- Prepare the tart filling: Keep the oven temperature at 375 degrees F. In a medium nonreactive bowl*, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a fine-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean nonreactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; immediately pour the curd into the warm tart shell.
- Return the baking sheet with the filled tart shell to the middle rack of the oven. (If the crust is already browned, be sure to cover it with foil or a pie crust shield to prevent over-browning.) Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the outer ring, slide a thin metal spatula between the bottom crust and the tart pan bottom to release, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve the tart within several hours, with freshly whipped cream.
*To prevent the lemon curd from having a metallic taste, only use nonreactive stainless steel or glass utensils when preparing the lemon curd.
Source: Baking Illustrated