Deconstructed Meyer Lemon Tart Recipe
A Bowl of Sunshine Makes Dessert
More than any other time of year, the beginning of spring seems to beg for lemony desserts. My yearning for them always leans towards something that includes a deliciously tart and creamy concoction: lemon curd.
How something so smooth and silky got the name “curd” has always baffled me. The rich creaminess of eggs and butter somehow lightens with the presence and punch from a large dose of lemon – Meyer lemon, of course. And there are few things that satisfy this craving better than a simple lemon tart.
- 1-3/4 cups Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe below)
- 3 tablespoons Chocolate Lemon Spread (recipe below)
- 12 small pure butter shortbread cookies (from a package, bakery or home made, if you’re so inclined)
- ½ Pint whipped cream, sweetened to taste
- Make Meyer lemon curd and chocolate lemon spread using recipes below.
- Spread a thin layer of warm chocolate on each piece of shortbread, don’t worry if they break, and set aside. You can store the chocolate covered shortbread for up to one day as long as they are kept air tight.
- Place 2-3 shortbread pieces on each plate. Top with approximately two tablespoons Meyer lemon curd then pipe or spoon about a tablespoon of whipped cream onto the curd and serve.
It’s long been a favorite dessert in its simplest form, but somewhere along the line I found an accomplice in the elder foodie kid who shares my adoration for the marriage of lemon and chocolate. Apparently it’s genetic because once identified there was no stopping us.
Our lemon tarts now always have a glossy layer of something akin to dark chocolate ganache between crust and curd. Not enough to take over or masquerade as a chocolate dessert with lemon, but just enough to let the subtleties and nuances of both shine through in harmony – the buttery tart shell keeping it all together, literally and figuratively.
- 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons Limoncello (or heavy cream)
- Place chocolate and Limoncello (or cream) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring often until melted. Remove the pan from heat.
So when my mom invited us over for Easter dinner, I thought this would be the perfect thing to bring…until it also looked like a great day to go skiing.
Wanting this same lush combination, but in need of something that could be made ahead and would be easy to throw together after dinner, I decided to deconstruct the tart and add a store bought component.
The more I thought this over the more I liked it – ski trip or not. In fact the simple act of making a luscious bowl of lemon curd was a beautiful reminder that there were so many things one could do with this little bowl of sunshine.
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- Grate zest from lemons, set aside. Juice lemons and strain out pulp and seeds.
- Put butter in a medium bowl, place a mesh strainer over the top and set aside.
- Combine lemon juice, eggs and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and whisk to combine. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like, about 8-10 minutes. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the bowl.
- Remove from heat and immediately pour through the strainer into the bowl with butter. (Gently stirring the curd in the strainer will help to push it through.)
- Whisk together until butter is completely melted, then stir in reserved zest. Transfer to a ceramic or glass container, cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Note: this also works as a tart filling, but you will need to double the recipe for an 11” tart.
Aside from everyday uses like spreading on scones or toast, it makes a fabulous cake filling, a generous scoop folded into whipped cream is divine with fresh berries, and it would also make an out-of-this-world shortcake – something worth remembering as we edge ever closer to summer.
Looking for something to go with salmon or seafood? Try this delicious Meyer Lemon & Green Olive Salsa recipe. What are you making with your Meyer lemons? Share in the comments below.