I love lemon tarts and I am so happy to share this Meyer Lemon Tart with you. When I travel to Paris there are two
As I sit writing this post, it is sunny outside and the weather is gorgeous. A few weekends ago I was in a car accident. The car was totaled so later today we're going shopping for a new car. We have the car picked out, we've already talked price and features so hopefully, we won't be at the dealership for too long. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..snort..HAHAHA.
A LEMON TART
I'm not sure when I had my first lemon tart, but I'm pretty sure it was in Paris. I grew up with my mom's lemon cream or lemon meringue pies, so a lemon tart on my first trip to France was revelatory. You know what I mean. You savor every bite and are disappointed when it's gone. But if you're in Paris there's a patisserie every 2 blocks, so lot's of opportunity to get another.
A lemon tart is plain and simple (lemon curd and buttery crust) which means the flavors of the two main ingredients are even more prominent. Is the filling too sweet or too tart? Is it creamy or grainy? Is the crust flaky and buttery or is it overbaked? To answer these questions you have to be willing to eat a lot of tarts.
HOW TO MAKE THE LEMON CURD
My goal was to come up with a lemon curd that would be thick enough to slice without adding cornstarch. I started with the Lemon Curd recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum. She is one of my favorite cookbook authors. I've learned so much from her books. Her book, The Cake Bible, was the first book I read that explained the science behind baking and taught me how to weigh ingredients. I absolutely love her books and if you don't have one of her books, get one.
Her base recipe for lemon curd is tart and is thick enough for pie and cake fillings. I adapted this recipe from her book, The Pie and Pastry Bible. Again, get this book if you want a great reference book on pies and pastry. Her recipe for lemon curd makes 1 cup and I modified the recipe to make 2 cups. I didn't double the amount of all the ingredients, so if you have her book the recipes are different. The result produced a delicious curd that baked really well in the oven. The curd is so good, just make sure you don't taste test too much of it.
HOW TO MAKE THE TART CRUST
The tart crust is my standard sweet crust (or pate sucree) that I use for my tarts. It's the crust I used for my Apple Crumble Tart. This crust is fairly easy to make. My standard recipe makes enough dough for two tarts. I usually freeze the extra to use later. The dough is good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for 2 months.
The tart crust is pre-baked. You can complete this step one day in advance and cover the complete tart shell with plastic wrap. The nice thing about this crust is the two main ingredients can be prepared in advance and then finished on the day you're ready to bake and serve.
ASSEMBLING THE MEYER LEMON TART
The tart shell is filled with the lemon curd and then baked in the oven to set the filling. When you cut into it the filling will hold its shape and you'll have beautiful clean slices. You can decorate the top with meringue (instructions included in recipe) or whipped cream, but I prefer meringue.
Please try this recipe and let me know what you think in the Comments section or post a picture on Instagram and tag me @bakesbybrownsugar.
Meyer Lemon Tart (Tart Au Citron)
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
Meyer Lemon Curd
- 3 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole large eggs
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large egg whites
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- For the recipe the crust is prebaked. Prebaking ensures the crust will be nice and brown.
- Sift the powdered sugar, the flour and the almond flour into separate bowls
- With a stand mixer beat the butter and salt together on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the almond flour and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the eggs and 1/3 of the flour and beat on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. The dough will be soft.
- The dough will weigh about 670 grams. Split the dough into two pieces, 335 grams each, shape each into a circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan. Do not use too much butter. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4-inch thick circle. Fold the dough in half and place into the pan. Unfold the dough and gently press the dough into the base and sides of the pan being careful not to tear the dough. Remove excess dough for the edge of the dough is even with the top edge of the pan.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Blind bake the tart dough. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill the paper with pie weights or beans. I use dried beans and keep a jar of beans in my pantry. Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and remove the beans and paper. Return the dough to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until it is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling it.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- Place a strainer over a large bowl and a spatula, near the stove.
- In a nonreactive saucepan, combine the eggs yolks, whole eggs and sugar and whisk until well blended. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter.
- Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened and 185 degrees F. When the mixture has thickened and reached a temperature of 185 degrees F pour into the strainer. Do not let the curd boil or it will curdle. Press the curd through the strainer with a spatula into the bowl.
- Scrape the lemon curd into the pre-baked tart shell and bake for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool to room temperature.
- NOTE: If not making the the tart right way, you can store the curd in the refrigerator up to 1 week. After making the lemon curd cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd. Place the curd in the refrigerator and chill. Place it in a sealed container. When ready to make your tart bring the curd to room temperature, stir it to loosen it up and follow the directions above.
For the Meringue
- Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until it reaches 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Once it reaches 140 degrees F transfer the bowl to the standing mixer and beat at high speed until cool, scraping down the sides once of the mixer bowl, midway during mixing, and add the vanilla. Whip until the meringue is light and fluffy.
- Scrape the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the tart. Or spread in a ring around the tart with a spatula. Use a kitchen torch to toast and brown the meringue.