Monday, January 26, 2009

in season: magical meyer lemons

The wait is over: Meyer lemon season is upon us! For someone who loves a lemon dessert as much as I do, Meyer lemon season is the pinnacle of the year, the time when bright, sunshine-y flavors can wipe away the frost of deep winter. What is so magical about this little citrus? It's like all the great things about lemons, but without the tartness or bitterness that can sometimes sideline even the most carefully crafted dessert.

In my opinion, the best way to treat a Meyer lemon is to simply let it's mellow bright flavor shine through, without overwhelming with other flavors. As J-Cat said after scarfing down a slice of this Meyer lemon curd tart, he likes when it tastes more lemony than eggy. It does help that this recipe is also pretty buttery.

And a nice sugar cookie style tart crust goes a long way, too. Although this one turned out crunchier than I intended, in the end it made the tart like a lemon bar, which is pretty awesome in it's own right. It was easier to eat this tart with your hands rather than try to break it up with a fork, that may have been due to too much pressing of the dough into the tart pan to try to get it perfectly even.

It does seem to be a rule with me that there is often some flaw in all of my lemon desserts, but if a crunchy sugar cookie crust is the flaw in this one, I can definitely live with that. The broken crust crumbles found another life as a crumble top, a perfect adornment. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Baking Bites

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs
2 (large) egg yolks
6 tbsp butter, softened and cut into tbsps
1 9-or 10-inch sugar cookie tart crust

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.

In a large bowl, while the sugar is heating, whisk together lemon zest, eggs and egg yolks. When sugar mixture comes to a boil, add very small amounts of it to the egg mixture while whisking continuously to temper the mixture. Add only a few tablespoons at a time and do not stop stirring (firmly, but not too vigorously) until all of the sugar/lemon mix has been added. Transfer egg mixture back to sauce pan and return to stove. Cook on medium heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking frequently.

Remove custard from stove and whisk in butter, adding in one tablespoon at a time. When all butter has been added, cool curd for 15 minutes before pouring into prepared tart crust.

Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours before serving. If storing longer than that, cover tart with plastic wrap when set and completely cool.


1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk (low fat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light. Beat in flour, salt, milk and vanilla, until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should clump together if you press it between your fingers).

Pour dough into a 9 or 10-inch tart pan and press it up the sides, making sure the layer on the bottom is even.

For a no-bake filling: Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden. Cool.
For a baked filling: Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is set and firm at the edges. Cool, then fill with desired filling and bake as that recipe directs.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Wow, I didn't realize it was the season again! I'm psyched!

You know, that photo you took of the finished tart in all its loveliness would make a super nice photo card. I had cards made recently of a photo I took of yarn and a coffee cup, I just did it on ofoto, and it came out very well. You might want to try making yourself a set of food photo notecards--your pics are really pretty!