Lemony treats are generally associated with spring time flings and hot summer days. I don’t care what season it is, there is never a wrong time to indulge yourself with a slice of this mouth-puckeringly-sweetly-tangy tart. It is the combination of sweet and sour, with the crisp and flaky crust, that beckons to me. Or perhaps it is the sweet tartness, causing the mouth pucker, making each bite a lingering bittersweet kiss of sweet citrus. Or maybe I am just over-dosing on nostalgia…
For the Crust:
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons cold water
For the Lemon Curd
- 3 lemons, zested
- 3/4 cups fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 eggs, beaten
- pinch of salt
- 8 tablespoons butter
1. Make the crust. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the pieces of cold butter until the mixture has a grainy, crumby texture. Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough holds together when you clench a handful. If not, add a bit more water until it does. Gather the dough into disk, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 425F. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness. Lay the dough into a tart pan (with a removable bottom). Press the dough into the sides of the pan, but be careful not to stretch it, otherwise it will shrink down as it bakes. Use any extra dough to patch thin spots along the bottom.
3. Prick the dough 25 – 30 times with a fork all over, then bake at 425F for 12 – 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, set aside. Reduce oven to 300F.
4. Make the curd. In a bowl, thoroughly whisk together the lemon zest, juice, sugar, and eggs to make a homogenous mixture. Place in a saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 10 – 12 minutes. Whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Mixture should have a smooth and silky consistency.
5. Pour the lemon curd mixture into the pre-baked crust. Return it to the oven and bake at 300F until the curd has set, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
6. Wasn’t that easy? Now go eat!
* Sometimes I like to use ready-made pie dough for this recipe. It really saves a lot on time!
* The dough can be made using a food processor if you have one.
* If you want a sweeter tart, use meyer lemons. They have less tang.