Captain Awesome grew up in a family we affectionately refer to as the Lemon Loving clan. He and his parents love lemon tart more than chocolate. Yes, indeed, gasp. But true. So recently, after we carted some pretty Meyer lemons home from the market, I thought I would make him a very lemon tart.
Three many tarts later I finally have it. The first one was a candidate for baking wreck of the week. A little too much cornstarch and the lemon filling was smooshy bitter. The second one was better, but the crust was rather like chewing crust-jerky. And the filling was still bitter and slightly chewy. Not what you want in a lemon tart. Too much pith and brimstone.
The third time was the charm. This one is so perfect I want to bronze it. Half the tart is still in the refrigerator but I know it won’t last the day because Captain Awesome already had a piece for breakfast.
Good lemon tart is quite tasty. It is also marginally forgiving so if you fudge it up a little, it will still come out. I know. Because that is what I usually do. I forget an ingredient, or I put too much in, or I think I’ve put it in and there it is on the counter after the thing is already baking. Guess what? It’ll still come out.
And even better news. Make it ahead because it tastes so much better the 2nd day and even the 3rd day, if it lasts that long. And because the basic recipe is modified from Smitten Kitchen who modified it from Dorie Greenspan, it has good bones.
If you can score some Meyer lemons, use those. They have the perfect flavor and touch for this tart, but if you have to use regular lemons, it’ll still taste great. Top the tart with berries, and I swear you’ll think it is spring.
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Dorie Greenspan)
- 1.5 cups or about 150 grams gluten free oat flour
- ½ cup or about 54 grams almond flour
- 8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup or about 52 grams confectioners sugar
- Pinch salt
Pulse flours, salt and sugar in food processor. Add cut up butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Add egg slowly and pulse until it forms a ball. It will be very sticky. Really very sticky. Add some GF oat flour to a cutting board and drop the ball of dough on it. Knead a tiny bit to incorporate some more flour into it. It should remain sticky even when you incorporate a bit of flour into it – so don’t be surprised.
To keep yourself sane, use a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and press it into a 9 inch tart pan. It is quite messy, but the plastic wrap works well enough. Once in the tart pan, pop it into the freezer for at least an hour. Note: save a tablespoon of dough for patching later on if needed – just wrap it in plastic and refrigerate. It may come in handy if the shell cracks after pre-baking which mine did one time out of three.
When ready to bake, place a buttered piece of foil (butter side toward dough) on top of the dough and press into place. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Carefully pull off the foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the bottom seems less soft. Keep an eye on it and be sure to take it out before it gets too brown. Set aside while preparing the filling.
Note: patching! Use the other dough to place tiny patches on cracks and wet the edges slightly to glue them in place. Continue on and don’t tell a soul. No one will know. And send a thank you to Dorie Greenspan for that tidbit.
No tart pan? Try a pie dish or a spring-form pan or even an 8×8 brownie pan. All you need is an oven proof dish with sides. Oh, and a lemon or two.
- 2 Meyer lemons of average size, fully zested and juiced (separately)
- 1 large eggs plus three egg yolks
- 200 grams or 1 cup of superfine sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 9 grams or 1 tablespoon gluten free cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- Generous tablespoon of Limoncello (optional)
Preheat oven to 325. Place partially baked tart shell on baking sheet.
Zest the lemons and measure the sugar. Using your fingers work the zest into the sugar and let it set while you finish preparing the filling. In fact, you can do that early in the day and let those flavors mingle. Juice the lemons including as much pulp as possible, but leave the pith and the membrane which can be
Crack the eggs and mix with a fork.
Place all the lemon/sugar mixture into the processor and pulse until the sugar is broken up and smooth again. Add the lemon juice/pulp and pulse a few times. Add everything else and whiz until really pureed thoroughly. Give it some time – you want it all incorporated.
Pour gently into the tart to just below the rim depending on the size of your pan. The smaller the pan, the higher the tart and the wider the pan, the more shallow the tart.
Place in oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Check it at 30 minutes. The wider pan (shallow tart) will be almost done. You want a tiny bit of jiggle in the middle, but it will be getting very slightly golden brown on top. The smaller, taller tart will actually take a little bit longer, but it finishes fast. Check both at ten minutes more and then keep an eye on them. Make sure it still slightly jiggles just in the center when you remove it from the oven.
Cool all the way to stone-cold-cool on the counter and then refrigerate it over night. It tastes much better the second day when all the flavors get to mingle.
Top with fresh berries right before serving, dust with a little bit of confectioner’s sugar, and add whipped cream for extra fun.
Oh my. I swear I just heard the sound of the Lemon Loving In-Laws slamming the car door, rushing to the airport to get here in time for dessert. We promise to save them a slice.