This perfect lemon tart is one of my favorite desserts. It’s tangy, sweet, and delicious. Basically, I love anything lemon. This perfect lemon tart has the added bonus of also having orange juice and zest in it. So, with all this vitamin C, I like to think of it as healthy, sadly it’s not! sigh. Although I would like to take credit for this recipe, I can’t. I actually found this recipe many moons ago somewhere. I believe the name of the book was “Not Afraid of Flavor.”
My husband makes this dessert for me; he just made it for mother’s day. What a great gift! The people in my office thought so too, of course. They always get to benefit every time baked goods are prepared at my house. I took the rest of this perfect lemon tart into work on Monday. It was gone quickly. One of my colleagues lamented the fact that he waited too long ( until after lunch, seriously!) to get a piece. When he finally made it over to my office it was gone! He left my office with a sad look on his face.
Although we tend to think Florida and California when we think of citrus fruits, their origins are actually from far away lands. Oranges are thought to have originated in Malaysia (SE Asia). They eventually made their way to China around 2200 B.C. where they were offered as tribute to the emperor. These early oranges were admired for their medicinal properties and the aromatic value of their essential oils. Lemons, on the other hand, are thought to have originated in Northern India and are thought to be a hybrid between a bitter orange and citron (a fruit similar to lemon, but less acidic and more fragrant).
Don’t let the many steps you see here scare you. It’s actually pretty easy to make, but like all good things, it takes a bit of time. One of the tips I want to give you is this: when you are ready to fill the tart for baking, pull out the oven tray and place the empty tart shell on the rack. Place the filling in a pitcher and pour over tart shell. This will prevent possible spills. I learned from experience! This perfect lemon tart is really to die for. If you want you can whip up some heavy cream and place a dollop on your tart. It’s awesome, trust me! With summer right around the corner, this is a perfect dessert to take anywhere.
- Tart Shell
- 1¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter-cold cut into pieces
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk
- 1 egg white lightly beaten
- 4 eggs
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 orange
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- To make the tart shell:
- In a food processor place the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Pulse a few times until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg yolk. Pulse until the mixture comes together into a ball. You can add a bit of cold water (1 Tbsp. at at time) if it is having difficulty coming together.
- Take the ball of dough and flatten it out lightly on a lightly floured surface. Wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for about two to three hours or overnight.
- Take dough and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350'F.
- On a floured surface start rolling out the dough to make a 13" circle.
- Place in a tart shell. Place a piece of parchment paper or foil on top of the shell. Fill with pie weights or beans.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- As soon as the shell comes out of the oven, brush with egg white.
- To make the filling:
- While the pastry is baking whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and orange zest and cream until smooth.
- Place the filling in the tart shell and bake for about 20-25 minutes.*
- Allow it to cool before serving.
- * Check with a toothpick after about 20 minutes so you don't over bake.