The Chef’s Favorite Lemon Tart

“We most often serve this with a mixture of seasonal berries and lightly whipped cream. You can substitute a simple raspberry sauce made from frozen raspberries if it is not fresh berry season.” ~ Ben and Karen Barker

A Lemon Tart similar to chess pie

It is 9 am on a Saturday morning in early May.  Everything is bursting with energy.  The birds are chirping while busily bringing their nesting materials to the bird houses. All the trees and perennials are growing.  It is even warm enough to have the windows open.  It is going to reach 80 today, the first time since 2012 in the northeast.  I hope you can feel my excitement.  It has been a long winter and spring.

The farmer’s market opens the first Saturday in June and I have visions of the fresh fruits, berries and veggies that will be overflowing their baskets.

Also, this wonderful “flower lady” will be back.  She grows the most unique varieties of flowers.  I can’t wait.   Oh, I’m digressing.

All the fresh fruit got me thinking about tarts. Tarts are a great item to have in your repertoire because they are so versatile.  You can fill a tart shell with puddings, custards, fruits, vegetables and yes, even bacon.  They are both sweet and savory.  They make a wonderful presentation!

Tart shells differ from pie crust.  Tart shell dough does not have flaky layers.  It resembles the density and texture of rich short bread cookies.

The lemon tart that is posted today comes from the “Magnolia Grill.”  The chefs, Ben and Karen Barker have had it on their menu for over 20 years. It was also a frequent request when I had my small “at home” baking business. Personally, I have never had a lemon tart that was better.

Lemon tart plated

Gather the ingredients for the tart shell:

Tart shell ingredients

In your food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt.

Flour, sugar and salt

Add the small pieces of butter.

Pulsing in butter

Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.

Adding egg

Add the egg yolk mixture and pulse until the dough forms a ball.

Tart crust

Gather the ball and flatten it into a disk.  Wrap in waxed paper; and chill the dough for several hours. Let it come to room temperature before attempting to roll it out.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 13” circle. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin, and place it over a 10” tart pan with a removable bottom.  Press into place and trim the dough even with the top of the pan.  Freeze for 15 min.

Roll out the crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the pie shell with foil or parchment paper.  Fill it with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 20 minutes.   This is known as blind baking.  After 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until the crust is golden.

Blindbaking

Remove the crust from the oven and immediately brush it with beaten egg white.  This seals the crust so that it will not get soggy from the filling.

Brush with beaten eggwhites

Gather the ingredients for the filling:

Filling ingredients

While the tart is baking, assemble the filling.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice,

lemon juicing

lemon zest, orange zest

Orang and lemon peel

and cream until smooth.

Lemon filling

 

After sealing the crust, place the tart on a cookie sheet and put it on an oven rack.  Pour the filling into a pitcher and slowly pour the filling into the tart crust as high as possible.  There is a small amount left over that I pour into a small Pyrex cup and bake along with the tart.

Pouring the filling

Bake the tart for about 25 minutes until the filling is just set. Start checking the tart after 20 minutes to be sure you don’t over bake the filling.

Cool to room temperature and garnish to your liking.

Garnished tart

 

Hint: When rolling tart pastry, always save all the dough scraps in case you need them to repair a crack or hole in a partially baked shell. Just  patch the hole by pushing the edges of the patch into the crust. If the pastry “bubbles up” during the baking process, gently prick the pastry with a fork to release air bubbles. Check several times and repeat if necessary. It is essential that there be no cracks or holes visible in the partially baked shell. If there are holes, the filling seeps under the crust.

 

The Chef’s Favorite Lemon Tart Recipe

Flour, sugar and salt

By Patricia Rio Published: May 5, 2013

  • The Chef’s Favorite Lemon Tart
    1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (98% score)
  • Yield: 8-12 Servings
  • Prep: 3 hrs 0 min
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Ready In: 4 hrs 0 min

Recipe courtesy of Magnolia Grill

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Gather the ingredients for the tart shell: In your food processor, add the flour, sugar and salt. Add the small pieces of butter. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
  2. Add the egg yolk mixture and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Gather the ball and flatten it into a disk. Wrap in waxed paper; and chill the dough for several hours. Let it come to room temperature before attempting to roll it out.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a 13” circle. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin, and place it over a 10” tart pan with a removable bottom. Press into place and trim the dough even with the top of the pan. Freeze for 15 min.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the pie shell with foil or parchment paper. Fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. This is known as blind baking. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and weights and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until the crust is golden.
  6. Remove the crust from the oven and immediately brush it with beaten egg white. This seals the crust so that it will not get soggy from the filling.
  7. Gather the ingredients for the filling: While the tart is baking, whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest and cream until smooth.
  8. After sealing the crust, place the tart on a cookie sheet and put it on an oven rack. Pour the filling into a pitcher and slowly pour the filling into the tart crust as high as possible. There is a small amount left over that I pour into a small Pyrex cup and bake along with the tart.
  9. Bake the tart for about 25 minutes until the filling is just set. Start checking the tart after 20 minutes to be sure you don’t over bake the filling.
  10. Cool to room temperature and garnish to your liking.
  11. Hint: When rolling tart pastry, always save all the dough scraps in case you need them to repair a crack or hole in a partially baked shell. Just patch the hole by pushing the edges of the patch into the crust. If the pastry "bubbles up" during the baking process, gently prick the pastry with a fork to release air bubbles. Check several times and repeat if necessary. It is essential that there be no cracks or holes visible in the partially baked shell. If there are holes, the filling seeps under the crust.
    The Chef's Favorite Lemon Tart
    Patricia Rio
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