Friday, January 6, 2012

Keep on the Sunny Side, Always on the Sunny Side

2012 is New Mexico's Centennial and today is Statehood Day. In honor of this occasion, I'm keeping on the Sunny Side of Life with a Lemon Tart. This recipe is from Patricia Wells who tells me that in Provence, people believe that eating lemon helps them capture energy from the sun. I've introduced the lemon tart into our Christmas traditions in the hopes of harnessing energy from the sun as we start a new year, and it seems fitting to have it again this weekend in honor of the sunniest state in the Union!

Sun Lovers Lemon Tart 
from At Home in Provence by Patricia Wells

Lemon Pastry Shell
8 Tbs (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled.  Plus additional amount for buttering the tart pan.
1/4 Tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 Tsp pure almond extract
Grated zest (yellow peel) of 1 lemon, preferably organic, blanched and refreshed
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour (I only needed about a cup total)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
2. Butter the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine butter, vanilla and almond extracts, grated zest, sugar and salt. Mix with a spoon to blend. Gradually incorporate enough flour to form a smooth, soft dough. (The dough should resemble soft cookie dough)
4. Place the dough in the center of the buttered pan. With the tips of your fingers, press the pastry evenly on the bottom and sides of pan. The dough will be quite thin. (You do not have to weight or prick the shell)
5. Place the shell in the center of the oven and bake just until the dough is firm and lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes before filling. Do not remove from the pan.

Lemon Tart
1 recipe for Lemon Pastry Shell
2 large eggs, at room temperature (I set the eggs and butter on the counter the night before I'm going to make this)
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
8 Tbs of butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
Grated zest (yellow peel) of 2 lemons, preferable organic, blanched and refreshed
1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

1. Prepare Lemon Pastry Shell according to directions.
2. In the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, simmering water, combine the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Whisk frequently (not constantly as I've learned) until the curd is thick and pale lemon colored, 8-10 minutes.
3. Add the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, allowing each tablespoon to melt before the next is added. Add the zest and lemon juice, whisking frequently until thick and custard like and the first bubbles appear, about 4 minutes. The mixture should not boil.
4. Pour the curd into the prebaked and cooled pastry shell.  Smooth with a spatula and set aside until set, about 30 minutes.  To serve, cut into thin wedges.

Note:  To blanch and refresh zest, boil zest for about 3 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water to refresh.  Drain well and let dry thoroughly before using.


  1. Looks pretty.

    At your wedding shower, wasn't "lemon tart" the tiebreaker in our game of pictionary?

  2. oh gosh! I don't remember. That would be a good one, though.


Hey, thank you!

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