Lemon’s are a favorite ingredient of mine for any dessert. Almost everyone enjoys the tart flavor of lemon to finish off a delicious meal.
My Lemon Lover’s Tart has a been a “go to” recipe of mine for many years. Each component of the dessert features lemon…..zest in the shortbread crust and zest and fresh lemon juice in both the custard layer and lemon curd layer of the tart.
The crust is very delicate. Instead of rolling it out, simply use your fingers to press it into your prepared tart pan. Remember to freeze the crust for at least one half hour before baking it. This will help firm the crust and minimize crust shrinkage during baking. I “blind bake” the crust first then pour in the custard layer. Blind baking means you are prebaking the crust without a filling in it. This ensures that the bottom of the crust will be crisp, not soggy.
So pucker up and enjoy!
LEMON PASTRY SHELL
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 large egg yolk plus one whole large egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoon cold water (enough to hold the pastry together)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
To make the pastry crust
Spray a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick food spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment the same size as the pan and spray the paper with the nonstick food spray. This will help remove the finished tart from the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the yolk and egg and pulse to combine. Add the remaining ingredients (except the water) and pulse to combine. Slowly add enough water to make the dough just hold together when put between your fingers.
With your hands, press the dough into the prepared pan. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour or overnite.
Line the filled tart pan with foil and place either pie weights (these are metal and can be purchased at cooking stores) or dried uncooked beans or rice (You can reuse the beans/rice as pie weights in the future but you don’t want to use them for eating). Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Carefully lift off the foil with the pie weights and continue to bake for another 12 minutes. The shell should be light brown. Remove and let cool while you prepare the custard filling.
To prepare the custard filling
Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Combine all of the custard ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the mixture in a pitcher. (This make it easier to put in the crust.) Place the baked tart crust (still in the tart pan) on a baking sheet. Place it in the middle rack of the oven. Now, pour the custard mix into the shell (the shell is in the oven on a baking sheet) By doing this, you don’t have to “travel” with the filled tart and perhaps spill it.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The filling should puff slightly and be just firm to the touch. Remove from oven. Let cool while preparing the lemon curd (The tart can be prepared to this point and refrigerated if you like).
To prepare the lemon curd
Combine the egg, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Place on medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened. Be careful not to overcook or some of the egg will cook (looking a bit like scrambled eggs). Take off the heat, whisk in the zest and butter. Pour onto the cooled custard layer, evening the curd out with an offset spatula or spoon. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, remove the tart ring and slide the tart onto a serving tray. You should be able to put a flat spatula under the tart and the parchment paper to easily slice it. Garnish with whipped cream and fresh berries