Nibbling Lemon Tart as the Snow Falls
Meyer Lemon TartÂ
What is it about late-winter snow storms that inspires me to bake? Perhaps it’s the warm oven and comforting aromas, or maybe it’s post-snow-shovel sugar cravings? Either way, this has always been the case for me. Of course, baking during a blizzard —when the threat of a power outage looms large— is a big risk.Â So, I try to think of things I can bake in less than an hour. Snow also means using the ingredients on hand, since travel is out of the question.
Walking back from my tractor after making a quick, snow-clearing pass down the drive, I paused to admire the snow-dusted Witch Hazel. Oh, sugar-sprinkled lemon tart? Inspiration struck! Homegrown citrus —lemon, lime and calamondin— I usually have from my own trees (see tips for growing your own citrus here). This year, my Meyer Lemon has been a little stingy —I think I brought it inside a bit late, exposing it to frost— but it has finally relented; offering up 3 ripe fruits. Fresh eggs? Check. Butter? Check. Cream? Oh yes . . . Always. Time for a lemon tart!
Inspiration for a Sugar-Dusted Tart: Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’
Dressed with Half a Container of Organic Raspberries & Dusted with Confectioner’s Sugar
I am a fresh citrus lover. Long before I began growing my own lemons, limes and calamondins, I started pressing fresh juice for drinking, cooking, baking and cocktail-making. For years I had a cumbersome and flimsy citrus press, then voila, this fantastic, Hamilton Beech commercial citrus juicer appeared beneath the tree one Christmas and I have never looked back. If you love pressing citrus, this tool will make short work (and fun), of the process. I find that I get more juice (and if double pressing, pulp too), when using a strong press.
M e y e rÂ Â L e m o nÂ Â T a r t
I n g r e d i e n t sÂ
One pre-baked, sweet tart shell (see recipe below)
Â½Â Â Â cup Meyer lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons & their zest, depending upon size)
2Â Â Â eggs
3Â Â Â egg yolks
6Â Â Â tbs sugar
2Â Â Â tbs cream
pinch of fine salt
6Â Â Â tbs best-quality, unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
Confectioner’s Sugar & Organic Raspberries for Decoration/Serving
M e t h o dÂ
Juice the lemons, (I love my Hamilton Beech commercial citrus juicer), pressing as much pulp as possible through the strainer, and grate the peels. Add both juice and peel together, in a small bowl (watch for and remove seeds, if hand pressing). Beat eggs and egg yolks together with sugar until just mixed. Add egg/sugar mixture to a heavy saucepan and warm over low heat. Add cream, stirring constantly. Add the juice mixture, again stirring non-stop as you go. Add the salt and then the butter pieces, slowly stirring as they melt. When the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon, remove from the heat and allow to sit 5 minutes. Whisk to smooth and pour into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate to chill for about a half hour or keep chilled for up to two weeks.
Preheat an oven to 375Â°F.
Fill the cooled, pre-baked tart shell (do not over-fill), and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until just set (slightly puffed and firmed but still a bit wobbly at center). Remove and allow to cool for an hour before serving or place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
If refrigerating, allow the tart to come back to room temperature (about an hour), before serving. When the tart has reached room temp, garnish with raspberries, dust with confectioner’s sugar & serve.
P Ã¢ t eÂ Â S a b l Ã© e
(Sweet Dough for 9″ Tart)
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi
I n g e d i e n t sÂ
1Â Â½Â Â Â cups (201 grams) all-purpose flour
Â½Â Â Â cup (60 grams)Â confectioner’s sugar
Â¼Â Â Â tsp grated lemon zest
Â¼Â Â Â tsp fine sea salt
9 tbs (4Â Â½ oz/128 grams) chilled, best-quality, unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1Â Â Â large egg yolk
M e t h o d
Place the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor and pulse to blend. Lift the lid and scatter butter over dry ingredients. Cover again and pulse until the mixture is roughly the size of peas. Slowly add in yolk, mixing in short pulses. Then, increase pulsing to 10 second intervals until the dough forms small clumps. Stop here. Do not overwork. Rinse your hands in ice water, dry and turn the dough out onto a work surface.
Mix with the heel of your hand, smearing across the counter, rather than kneading, until blended. Gather up in a ball and flatten to a disk.
Butter a tart pan (I like to use a removable bottom tart pan), and evenly press the dough over the bottom and up the sides. Do not overwork. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and cover with foil. Place in a freezer for about an hour or longer —or overnight— before removing to bake.
Center an oven rack and preheat to 400Â°F.
Place the frozen tart on a cookie sheet and bake blind for 25-30 minutes (or until golden brown). You need not use pie weights if you have properly chilled the tart, it should not shrink much. Remove from the oven and cool for at leastÂ Â½ hour before adding lemon filling.
Meyer Lemons and Tart
Post-Nor’easter: Eighteen Inches of New-Fallen Snow in the Garden
Meyer Lemon Tart: Antidote to Late-Winter Blues
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