This is one of the easiest, and most delicious recipes for a dessert that I’ve made. The crust is oh-so-simple, and the filling is just as easy. The real trick, though, is a meyer lemon. I’ve tried making this with regular lemons (even using only the zest and the fruit/juice), but it really isn’t as tasty that way. The regular lemon is too bitter for my taste.
The crust is based on Dorie Greenspan’s sweet tart dough. I love this because you can just press the dough (made in the food processor) into the pan. It gets frozen for a bit, then par-baked prior to adding the filling. The filling is based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
The flour, sugar, salt are mixed in the food processor. Add the chunks of butter and process for a few pulses until it’s an uneven coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and process just until it comes together. I usually press the dough into my pan (so I can skip chilling and rolling steps), and then put the whole thing into the freezer for at least 20 minutes. but until you’re ready to use it. I use a 9″ French tart pan.
The crust is taken from the freezer, foil placed directly on the dough (it can be weighted down with pie weights or beans, but it’s not really necessary), and baked in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. The foil gets removed, and then baked for about 5 minutes more. If it puffs up, press it down a little so that it retains the shape. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.
You’ll make the filling in the same processor bowl. No need to clean it out (unless of course, you’ve waited a few days with your crust in the freezer…). You will need:
1 average-sized Meyer lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 large eggs
2 T cornstarch
1/4 t table salt
The lemon gets sliced up, the seeds removed, and placed in the processor. Sugar and the butter (it can be cold or room temperature) are added and processed, until the whole mixture is smooth.
Then, the eggs, cornstarch and salt are added, and mixed well.
This mixture gets poured into the prepared shell, and placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The filling should just fill the shell, be careful that it’s not too full, or it will overflow and stick to the pan. If your butter was chilled, it holds together pretty nicely for this step.
This gets baked at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Once removed from the oven it gets cooled. This can be served chilled or at room temperature. I ended up taking this to share at my niece’s university graduation, so I don’t have lovely photos of this served. That said, this was a huge hit, just plain, cut into neat slices (the crust is both delicate and sturdy – so you can actually eat thin slices out-of-hand!). It would be fabulous with fresh berries, or any kind of coulis – you could even gild it with some cream. But this is a very quick and easy (easy) recipe for a fabulous dessert – so fresh for spring and summer.