i have been scouring supermarket produce sections around here for at least a year in search of meyer lemons. i had pretty much given up my search, filed the thought somewhere in the depths of my brain, when i was on the search for a large bag of plain old lemons, when i picked up a bag of meyers by mistake. i literally jumped when i realized it. and after all that hunting, they weren't automatically put in the cart. shocking, i know. i had too many ideas in my head and couldn't decide. at least now i know where to get them.
fast forward one week. wine, cheese, & salad night with friends + a birthday + new tart pan that begged to be used = perfect excuse for a perfect lemon tart.
and i'll probably get a lot of grief for this, but i didn't notice a huge difference in taste between the meyer and a plain old lemon in the tart. when i was zesting and juicing them, they were sweeter, a little orangey. but once in the tart, no one knew the difference. maybe a tart isn't the best way to showcase them?
regardless of the meyer lemon vs regular lemon, the flavor and texture was out of this world. and even though i used deb's great unshrinkable sweet tart shell, mine did in fact shrink. but other than that it came together perfect and rolled out like a dream. same for the lemon curd.
anyway, see that cup and saucer up there? or down below? it normally lives behind glass doors in my china cabinet, except for the three or four times a year when i actually use it. i remember the small shop in italy, six and a half years ago when i bought it. there's something about the bright colors and memories tied to it that make it the perfect pick-me-up when i'm having a stressful week. isn't it funny how memories can change your mood so dramatically?!
meyer lemon tart
makes one 9 inch tart
tart shell adapted from smitten kitchen, lemon curd adapted from david lebovitz
make ahead: the day before, make the tart shell dough, chill it, roll it out and line the tart pan with it. pop in the freezer and bake directly from the freezer the next day.
for the tart shell
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
for the meyer lemon curd
3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
grated zest of two lemons
1/2 cup sugar
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 egg yolks
- make the tart shell. pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. add the butter and pulse until it looks like cornmeal. beat the egg in a small bowl to break up the yolk. add about a tablespoon of the egg and mix until combined. continue adding the egg, a bit at a time, until the dough forms a ball. turn the dough out of the food processor onto a piece of plastic wrap. use your hands to mash the dough into a round disc and cover in plastic wrap. refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- roll out the dough disc between two pieces of parchment paper until the dough is a few inches larger than the bottom of your pan. carefully transfer the dough into your tart pan and use your fingers to ever so carefully push it into place in the bottom. cut off the extra dough that overhangs the top edges. prick the bottom of the tart dough liberally with a fork.
- cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fit inside the tart shell, covering the bottom and sides. butter the shiny side of the foil and place butter side down into the tart. wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- preheat your oven to 375F. unwrap the plastic from the tart dough, leaving the aluminum foil in tact. bake the crust about 20 minutes, remove the foil, and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until the dough is light brown.
- while the dough bakes, make the lemon curd. warm the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter over medium low heat in a saucepan.
- in a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolks.
- when the butter has melted in the lemon juice mixture and it just starts to simmer, add about 2 tablespoons of the hot mixture to the eggs, whisking the eggs continuously (so they don't scramble). continue adding the hot mixture to the eggs, a little bit at a time (around 1/4 cup), whisking continuously, until all of the mixture is added. transfer it back to the saucepan.
- put the saucepan back over medium low heat, whisk constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. remove from heat and set aside.
- place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup with a spout (the spout will make it easier to pour into the tart crust). strain the curd to get out any pieces of scrambled egg and the lemon zest.
- when the tart dough is done baking, pour the lemon curd into the shell. bake an additional 5 minutes to set the curd.
- let cool about 30 minutes before removing the tart from the pan. chill before and after serving.