Made this for Thanksgiving and it’s now a given that I’ll make it every Thanksgiving from here on out. It’s that foolproof and a perfect combo of sunny Meyer lemon sweetness and rich shortbread crust. Lemon and butter, smooth and crumbly. Clearly a winner.
If you’ve never seen a Meyer lemon, here you go. They are smaller, rounder and sweeter than regular lemons with a smoother skin and a much softer body. Takes very little muscle to give ’em a good squeeze. A gentle person’s lemon!
According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), chefs from Chez Panisse were the first to cook with Meyer lemons and Martha, knowing a good thing when she tasted it, promptly introduced them to the mainstream by using them in her recipes when no one else was doing so. It’s fitting then, that this recipe is taken straight from her November issue of Living but isn’t an original Martha. It comes from pastry chef Lindsey Remolif Shere’s Chez Panisse Desserts. Hey, Martha finds what works and sticks with it.
One more gossipy tidbit about Martha and lemons. Rosie O’Donnell asked Martha what she missed most from the outside world while she was incarcerated. Precise as always, Martha responded, “the flavor of lemons.” Make of that what you will, but they do taste and smell awfully nice.
Meyer Lemon Tart
For the crust:
1 cup AP flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon finely-grated Meyer lemon zest
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the lemon curd:
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest plus 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter. cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Make the crust: Whisk together flour, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon zest in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the dough begins to hold together.
Stir together water and vanilla, then mix into dough. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using your fingers, press the cold dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removeable bottom. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Bake tart shell until golden, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time.
Pour filling into cooled tart shell. Bake until filling is browned, slightly puffed and set, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Tart can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.