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 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. 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.
Here are the step by step photos to make the shell, filling and bake a great lemon tart:
Step 1: Place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in the food processor. Pulse to combine until it looks like a coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and milk. Pulse a few times.
Step 2: Pulse it again and you may need to add a little ice water, 1 Tbsp at time, just until the dough forms a ball.
Step 3: Turn out the dough on a floured surface.
Step 4: Form the dough into a disc.
Step 5: Wrap the disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or even overnight.
Step 6: Take out the chilled dough and roll out into about a 12 inch circle. This will fit nicely into a 10 inch tart pan and fill the sides.
Step 7: Lay the removable bottom of your tart pan on the rolled out dough to size it up.
Step 8: Slide the tart pan bottom under the dough.
Step 9: Here is my hack/tip: Gently fold up the dough on the removable bottom and center it.
Step 10: Drop the removable bottom with the dough into the outer tart pan.
Step 11: Gently unfold the dough out to the edges of the pan.
Step 12: Press the dough firmly into the sides of the pan and trip excess on the top edge. You can use small trimmed pieces to fill in any areas on the sides that are a bit thin or come up short.
Step 13: Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the tart pan then place pie weights or beans inside then bake for 20 minutes in a 350’F oven.
Step 14: Remove the tart shell from the oven, remove the pie weights and parchment paper. While the tart shell is still hot brush with the egg white and this will seal the shell and help prevent any leaking.
Step 15: Place some aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the tart pan just is case there is any leaking.
Step 16: Mix the filling. (These step can be down while the shell is baking.) Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment and slowly combine.
Step 17: When the sugar has been integrated with the egg, add the lemon juice, orange juice, cream, lemon zest and orange zest. Whip slowly until smooth.
Step 18: Transfer the filling to a pitcher. This will make the shell very easy to fill. Place the tart shell in the middle rack in the oven. Pour in the filling and gently push the rack in and bake for 20 minutes or until set. You can check if the filling is set by jiggling the oven rack. If you see the filling swirl like ripples on a pond it is not set. If it jiggles like jello then is it set and you can take it out to chill.
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.
Perfect Lemon Tart
A tangy and rich lemon dessert that is the perfect ending to any meal. A little piece goes a long way. Try it now.
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice fresh squeezed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1 lemon zest of one entire lemon
- 1 orange zest of one entire orange
- 1/4 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 and milk. 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 one hour 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 or see my notes on the "jiggle" test below.
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.
You can check if the filling is set by jiggling the oven rack. If you see the filling swirl like ripples on a pond it is not set. If it jiggles like jello then is it set and you can take it out to chill.