Lemon Tart

From Cooks Illustrated. This is an impressive looking tart, but the best thing about it really is the lemon filling – the lemon zest makes it really zing. The filling is a lemon curd adapted for this tart. A few tips: Once the lemon curd ingredients have been combined, cook the curd immediately; otherwise it will have a grainy finished texture. To prevent the curd from acquiring a metallic taste, make absolutely sure that all utensils coming into contact with it–bowls, whisk, saucepan, and strainer–are made of non- reactive stainless steel or glass.


Tart Shell

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 T heavy cream
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 8 T unsalted butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 T unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting

Lemon Curd

  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons
  • 1/4 c grated lemon zest
  • pinch table salt
  • 4 T unsalted butter , cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 T heavy cream


Tart Shell

  1. Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  2. Unwrap dough; lightly flour large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place dough in center. Roll out dough and line tart pan. Freeze dough 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and other rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chilled tart shell on cookie sheet; press 12-inch square of foil inside tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on lower rack 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer cookie sheet with tart shell to upper rack and continue to bake until shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Lemon Curd

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place tart pan with shell on cookie sheet.
  2. In medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium non-reactive saucepan, add butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until curd thickens to thin saucelike consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour curd through single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in heavy cream; pour curd into warm tart shell immediately.
  3. Bake until filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove outer metal ring, slide thin metal spatula between bottom crust and tart pan bottom to release, then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

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