I had these gorgeous Meyer Lemons that my father gave me from his Lemon tree. He actually has several lemon trees, which he passionately and carefully tends to as if they were his children. You see, he lives in New Jersey where the winter weather is not very kind to this tropical plant so he grows them in pots and pulls them into his garage every fall where they nestle peacefully during the winter months.
I love lemons.
In Sicily, where my family is from, Lemon Trees grow like Maple Trees grow in the United States. They are huge and glorious and full of delightful, delicious yellow fruit. Meyer Lemons, in particular, have a mix of the traditional lemon flavor but sweeter, like an orange. They’re vastly becoming popular in the United States, thanks to the many chefs on TV who are starting to use them more. You can now purchase them in local markets.
So, I decided to make a lovely lemon tart to take to my friend Barbara and Tom’s home on New Year’s Day. The recipe is adapted from Lori Longbotham’s book, Luscious Lemon Desserts.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 pinches of salt
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice (you can use Meyer Lemons or regular Lemons, but it will taste tarter with regular lemons)
- 1/2 cup heavy (whipping cream)
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
Equipment: Have ready an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the zest, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the butter mixture in a fine stream, stirring with a fork, and continue stirring until the dough begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers. Transter the mixture to the tart pan and press it with your fingertips evenly up the side and into the bottom.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is light, golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
Process the remaining 1 cup of zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground.
Whisk together the eggs, the sugar and zest mixture, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Beat the cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl just until it forms soft peaks. Whisk the cream in the egg mixture just until blended.
Place a baking sheet in the oven, place the crust on the baking sheet, and pour the filling into the still warm crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.
Just before serving, generously sift confectioners’ sugar over the cooled tart.
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