This lemon tart all decked out in red, white, and blue would be perfect for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend and other summer barbecues and picnics. I don’t know about you, but I always find lemon desserts so refreshing. Even if the dessert has 100 million calories in it, the lemon makes it seem light and somehow healthy even. Lemon is a fruit; fruit is good for you, so lemon tart is good for you too, right?
Actually, it is DELICIOUS for you!Of course, you don’t have to make the lemon tart patriotic. You can serve it just as it is with no additional adornments or with whatever fruit you prefer. Before decorating it as a flag, I took pictures of a couple of other options:
This lemon tart is really fantastic. I have only made tarts a handful of times before this, but in an effort to expand my baking repertoire, I decided to experiment with more recipes recently. This lemon tart rose to the top of the list of recipes to try, and I have not been disappointed. I made it for a dessert auction a few months ago, and it was one of the first desserts to be purchased. I checked with the buyers, and they confirmed that it was wonderful. The crust is a giant buttery shortbread cookie and the filling is light and lemony. The fruit on top just makes it more stunning.
Note: If you do not have a tart pan, this recipe makes it totally worth the purchase. I have not tried it myself, but others have also said they have made this in a pie pan or a spring form pan with good results.
For the crust (Please note: This makes TWO crusts. You only need one for this recipe. Cut the recipe in half or freeze the second for another day, or make double the filling and make two lemon tarts.)
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 7 ounces chilled butter (7/8 of a cup or 14 tablespoons, depending on how you prefer to measure)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cold water
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar (or regular white sugar that has been processed fine in a food processor)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest*
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice* (3-4 lemons, depending on size)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
*You can add or reduce the amount of lemon for your tastes, but I found these amounts to be perfect–tangy but not too much bite.
For the topping
- Optional: sweetened whip cream, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemon zest, candied lemon slices, etc.
- Make the crust by placing flour, chilled butter, and powdered sugar in food processor; process until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon cold water. Begin processing. If dough seems too dry, add more cold water, a little at a time. Process until the mixture clumps together and begins to form a dough. (Limit mixing and handling of dough to keep it as tender as possible.) Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a cohesive disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Prepare the pan. When dough is chilled, dump one disk into a 9-10 inch tart pan. Use your fingers to spread and press the crust up the sides of the pan and across the bottom, filling the pan completely and as evenly as possible. Once the pan is lined, place it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. (You need the butter in the crust as cold as possible to ensure a flaky crust and to keep the crust from shrinking in the oven.)
- While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- When the crust is cold, prepare to blind bake it. Line the crust with foil and then fill the pan with uncooked rice, dry beans, or pie weights, pressing the foil and the weights as close to the crust as possible. (The foil and weights are going to hold the crust in place while it bakes to prevent shrinking.) Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the lemon filling. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, superfine sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cream. Combine ingredients, but do not over beat. Set aside.
- When the crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue baking the crust until the crust is lightly browned, 10-15 minutes more.
- When the crust has browned place it on a baking sheet and then strain the lemon filling through a fine mesh sieve or strainer and pour it into the baked crust.
- Bake until the tart is nearly set, about 20 minutes. Please note that the center will still be quite runny, but the edges will have turned a duller color and will be set. Remove the tart from the oven to cool. The center of the tart will set while cooling. (Tip: 20 minutes is perfect in my oven. When I bake for 20 minutes, I get a perfect tart with no cracks. The one time I thought I should do another 2-3 minutes, the tart had a few cracks in the top–still delicious and easily hidden with whip cream and fruit, but technically over baked.)
- Let the tart cool completely and then serve. Remove the outer ring of the tart pan and place the tart on a serving plate. (Tip: Once it cools to room temperature, I prefer to refrigerate it to chill it completely before topping and serving.) (The crust should pop out easily, but this time, one little section of the side didn’t want to budge, and I lost a bit of crust…)
- Optional: Top with sweetened whip cream and/or fruit of your choice.