If you’ve seen my About Me page, you’ve probably noticed me beaming with happiness over a tart, looking like I am teasing you guys. That, my friends, is the perfect lemon tart. Big time teaser. I baked it for a photo shoot 4 years ago and had been procrastinating posting the recipe on the blog for the longest time. Until. Strange as it may sound, a few days ago I received a “call from the Universe” that urged me to finally do what I’d been intending to do for years.
So, a few days ago I remember waking up and the first thought that came to my mind was—why don’t I finally post that tart recipe on the blog? Literally, I thought about it as soon as I put my foot on the floor. A little later, I checked my Facebook. And the very first thing I saw there was my friend Shahla’s post about how good the lemon bars she baked from my blog turned out and how she wished to see more lemon recipes on my blog. Wow. Telepathy?
I had to bake the tart again. I sort of liked that signal. Because a recipe like this has to be shared. So I made the tart a few days ago for a party in our house. This is the best homemade lemon tart you will ever make, guys. The recipe works. Plus it is easy. No lengthy advanced preparations to do or steps to take. Perfect results. This is for you, Shahla, and for all of you, wonderful people, from around the world.
The Perfect Lemon Tart
Adapted from Lori Longbotham’s “Luscious Lemon Desserts”
Makes one 11-inch (28-cm) tart, enough to serve 10
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from approximately 4 lemons)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (use the lemons you grated the zest from)
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar for dusting
Make the tart shell:
Positing a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Have ready an 11-inch (28-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the zest, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Whisk together the four, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the butter mixture in a fine stream, stirring with a fork, and continue stirring until the dough begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers.
Transfer the mixture to the tart pan and press it with your fingertips evenly up the side and into the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown. Be careful—do not hold the tart pan from the bottom or it will pop out and break! Let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
Make the filling:
Process the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of zest in a food processor until the zest if finely ground.
Whisk together the eggs, the sugar and zest mixture, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Beat the cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl just until it forms soft peaks. Whisk the cream into the egg mixture just until blended.
Bake the tart:
Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and place the tart crust on the baking sheet. Poor the filling into the still warm crust. (Yes, you first put the baking sheet in the oven, then you put the tart in its own tart form onto the baking sheet, and then pour the filling into the tart shell, because if you do this outside of the oven, it will be difficult to transfer the baking sheet to the oven without spilling the filling.) Pour all of the filling into the crust—it is just enough to fill up the entire tart shell. There should be no leftover if you are using the right-size tart pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. The tart is not supposed to get much brown on top. It should be just beginning to brown. Again, when removing the tart pan from the oven, be careful—do not hold the tart pan from the bottom or it will pop out and break! Let the pie cool on a wire rack. Remove the sides of the tart pan. Just before serving, generously sift confectioner’s sugar over the tart. Cut into wedges and serve.