Lemon Tart

If you recall from last post (Lemon and Fig Marmalade), I received a special delivery of fresh lemons from Arizona via my cousin Art.  I'm excited to share with you today a lemon tart recipe.  The lemon curd in this tart is one of the best I've eaten.  It's silky, yet firm to maintain it's shape after the tart is cut.  The lemon curd also has a good balance of sweet and tartness.    

This was my first attempt at an Italian meringue.  Actually, this meringue pictured on this tart was my second attempt at Italian meringue; my first try went horribly wrong.  Look for a future post telling that tale as well as a detailed recipe.  

Okay, I'm not going to lie, this lemon tart will take a chunk of your time to prepare.  To simplify the recipe I guess you could use store bought crust and serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But, if you are willing to go the extra mile your family and friends will most definitely thank you.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Make one 9 inch round or one 7 x 10 inch rectangle tart.  Recipe inspired from Food and Wine Magazine.  

Ingredients for Lemon Tart

Pastry Dough

  • 2.5 cups (315 grams) of All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup ice cold water

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions for Lemon Tart

  1. MAKE THE PASTRY.  Place 1 cup of water in freezer to chill for 10 to 15 min.  In a large metal bowl {metal tends to keep the dough cooler than plastic or glass bowls}, whisk together dry ingredients.  Add chilled, diced butter cubes.  Using a pastry knife or 2 forks to mix together dry ingredients and butter.  The mixture should be lumpy with butter, but well coated in flour.  Start to drizzle ice cold water, 1/2 cup to start, over the flour/butter.  Ditch the pastry knife and use hands to incorporate.  Continue to add small amounts of ice cold water until dough can be held together.  Transfer dough to a floured surface.  Knead dough, only 4-5 turns, should still have very small pieces of visible butter.  Shape dough into round disc, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least one hour up to overnight, or 30 minutes in the freezer.
  2. After the tart dough is chilled, roll out into a rectangle shape just slightly larger than the tart pan (8" x 11") and about 1/8 inch thick.  Transfer the dough into the tart pan (sprayed with non-stick spray and lightly floured).  Gently press dough into the pan, trim the edges flush with the pan.  Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  3. Remove tart shell from the refrigerator.  Prick the bottom and sides with a fork (docking) to prevent bubbling in the crust.  Line the shell with parchment paper, then fill with baking weights or dried beans.  Bake about 15-20 minutes at 350 F with the weights, then carefully remove the weights and parchment.  Return shell to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15 additional minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

  4. MAKE THE FILLING.  In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until smooth. Set a strainer over a bowl near the stove. Cook the custard over medium-low heat (*keep an eye on your heat, too high of heat will curdle the eggs), whisking constantly, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter a few pieces at a time, gently whisking until incorporated. Immediately strain the filling into the bowl. Scrape the filling into the cooled tart shell and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. 

  5. Remove the tart ring and cut the tart into slices. Serve with whipped cream, meringue, or ice cream.