Whole Lemon Tart

Yield: One 9-inch tart

My friend Debbie wrote the other day to tell me her lemon tree was exploding with lemons. Lucky girl! Deb’s tree has inspired this post for my favorite lemon tart.

If life has handed you lemons, make the most of them! You might also want to try the Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad, Lemon Herb Cheese or Lentils with Lemon, Herbs and Feta.

Ingredients/directions for the sweet tart crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk and water, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg/water is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up.
  2. Press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.
  3. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes before baking.
  4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Use rice/pie weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 15 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Ingredients/Directions for the lemon tart filling:

  • 1 average-sized lemon (about 4 1/2 ounces; 130 grams), rinsed and dried
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  1. Center a rack in the oven and heat the oven 350°F. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet, which you can line with foil or parchment paper to make any spills a breeze to clean up.
  2. Slice the lemon into thin wheels, remove any seeds, and toss the rounds, sugar and chunks of butter in food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is thoroughly pureed. Add the eggs, cornstarch and salt and pulse until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour into prepared tart shell. It will fill it completely but if due to slight variances in tart pans, egg sizes, lemon sizes or crust thickness, you have too much, do not pour it past the top of your crust or it will become difficult to unmold later.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the filling is set. Center should only jiggle slightly. It will be light brown on top.
  5. Let cool on rack, unmold tart pan, chill and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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