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Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

Meyer Lemon Tart with Shortbread Crust

meyer lemon tart with shortbread crust

I feel the need to start this off with a confession. This is not a new recipe. It is nearly identical to the Meyer lemon bars I made a couple months ago! I had started to try out a new recipe for lemon pie one evening when shortly after making the crust dough, I realized I needed to improvise. The recipe had called for far too much flour and not nearly enough butter. I tried to press it into the tart pan but it was such a dry, crumbly mess; filling the air with powdery white dust. In a panic, I dumped it back into the food processor and added more butter. Sighing with relief, it seemed to work out better so I continued reading the recipe. It's stated to pour the filling into the raw dough. What?  My husband was looking over my shoulder and, as if reading my thoughts warned, "if you put that in there it's going to be a mushy mess!" I knew he was right.  I popped it into the oven and hoped for the best!

 Freshly baked Meyer lemon tart, before the snowy sugar is added.

Freshly baked Meyer lemon tart, before the snowy sugar is added.

Now I didn't have much confidence in the rest of the recipe so I decided to fall back on the incredible lemon bar recipe and hope that it was just as good in pie form! I had already put the filling ingredients into the blender, as stated by the other directions. I added a bit of flour, milk and more lemon zest. The golden liquid was so fragrant, I could've grabbed a spoon right then! (Also, pre-baking the crust had definitely been the way to go.) I poured the filling onto the hot shortbread and placed it back in the oven for another half hour.

 Unadorned & freshly baked Meyer lemon tart with shortbread crust.

Unadorned & freshly baked Meyer lemon tart with shortbread crust.

It really was perfection! We ate slice after slice for the next three days. Every bite was as delightful as the first.  Let this be a lesson: if you love what you have and it's a solid foundation, don't feel the need to search out new variations. Improve upon what you already have and trust with your instincts on the rest. 

 So pretty! Sometimes a little dusting of confectioner's sugar make all the difference.

So pretty! Sometimes a little dusting of confectioner's sugar make all the difference.

Crust Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½ cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 

Filling Ingredients: 

  • 4 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest (from 2 Meyer lemons)
  • ⅔ cup fresh juice from 4 to 5 Meyer lemons, strained
  • ⅓ cup milk (whole preferably)
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted & cooled slightly
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
 The baker always gets the biggest slice!

The baker always gets the biggest slice!

Crust Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the flour. Add the butter and beat on low speed just until a smooth dough forms.

Press the dough evenly into a 9" or 10" nonstick tart pan and allow it to come up the sides of the pan. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until it is a deep golden brown, about 25-35 minutes.

Filling Directions: 

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Next, you can either put all the ingredients in a blender OR whisk the eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl, then stir in the lemon zest, juice, milk, butter and salt to blend well.

Slowly pour onto the warm crust. Bake until the filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes.  

It's even better if you can refrigerate it overnight! Just be sure to lightly cover it with plastic, taking care not to let the plastic film touch the top of the baked filling. (It could stick to it, forming a seal and pulling off some of the desert when the plastic is removed.)

meyer lemon tart with shortbread crust

Sifting confectioners’ sugar over the top not only makes it look so pretty, but it nicely balances the tartness from the citrus. Garnish with a few thin lemon slices, cut & serve. Get ready for the high praise!

 

*as with the Meyer Lemon Bars, recipe is adapted slightly from both Tartine and Cook's Illustrated, as suggested by The  Crumbly Cookie.

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