Lemon: the flavor of summer. With today being rainy and overcast here in New York I couldn’t think of a better dessert to make than a bright lemon tart! What makes my lemon tart original is the switch from chicken eggs to duck eggs! I got my duck eggs from my boyfriends Mom, she got them from a farm stand in East Hampton, Iacono Farm. However if you don’t have access to duck eggs you can use equal parts chicken eggs.
I’m sure some are thinking, why duck eggs? In baking, duck eggs make the final product fluffier and richer. This is because there is more fat in duck eggs; the egg yolk is larger in duck eggs than chicken eggs. Duck eggs do, however, have triple the amount of cholesterol than chicken eggs so those that have some health concerns should substitute with chicken eggs!
My lemon tart shell is a pâte sablée. Pâte sablée is a classic French pastry crust. Sablée translates to sandy texture, making the crust shortbread-like. Personally I love this crust, it’s buttery and holds its shape very well. There are two other classic French pastry crusts: pâte sucrée which is a sweeter crust and is made by creaming the butter and sugar together. The other is pâte brisée and this one is just a basic pie dough.
I decorated my lemon tart with Swiss meringue because I like the sweetness from the meringue with the bright lemon of the tart, but if you just want a buttery pastry with a perfectly tart lemon flavor, than you can eat this naked! I have 4 recipes for this Lemon Tart: candied lemon slices, the pâte sablée, a lemon curd filling and a Swiss meringue.
And now the recipes!
CANDIED LEMON SLICES
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Cut the lemon into 1/8 inch thick slices.
- In a saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer.
- Add lemon slices in a single layer, and simmer in the simple syrup.
- Occasionally gently flip the slices.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes, the slices will be translucent and the rinds will be softened.
- Transfer to a plate with waxed paper on it and allow to cool completely before using.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
- 1 large egg yolk (I used a duck egg yolk)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- In a large bowl combine the flour, powdered sugar and salt.
- Cut the cold butter into small pieces and cut the butter into the flour. Mix until there are a few pea sized pieces.
- Add in the egg yolk and heavy cream and combine until crumbly. It doesn’t completely come together so don’t worry if it doesn’t look like pie dough!
- Butter a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Press the dough evenly into the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart pan in the freezer for 20 minutes until cold.
- Butter the shiny side of a sheet of aluminum foil and place against the tart dough. Fill the foil with dry black beans and bake for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the foil and beans and bake another 8-10 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
LEMON CURD FILLING
- 3 duck eggs (or 3 chicken eggs)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Place a medium saucepan filled with 1-2 inches of water over medium heat. Place a bowl over the saucepan (this is a bain marie) and add the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens (about 10-12 minutes)
- Take the bowl off the heat and whisk in the heavy cream and butter.
- Place the bowl in the fridge until it cools down.
- Pour the cooled lemon curd into the tart shell and refrigerate 2 hours.
- 3 eggs whites
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Over a bain marie whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Heat the mixture until the sugar is melted and no longer grainy.
- Place the hot eggs and sugar in a stand mixer bowl, add the vanilla and whip the egg whites until stiff peaks.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue over the top the set lemon curd filling. And using a blow torch, brown the top of the meringue.