Classic Lemon Tart

Ingredients

For the Sweet Butter Pastry

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-ounce ice water

For the Lemon Filling

  • zest of 2 lemons, finely minced
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 5 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar, use one cup if you like it sweeter rather than tangier
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Instructions

For the Sweet Butter Pastry

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal and pea-sized pieces of butter still remain in the mixture. You can also use a food processor to pulse the butter into the flour mixture if you prefer.
  2. Whisk together the water, vanilla, and egg yolk. Pour over the dry ingredients and toss together gently with a wooden spoon only until a soft dough forms. Form the dough into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before rolling it out to about a 10 inch round and place in a 9 or 10-inch ungreased tart pan. You will need to blind bake the pastry before adding the filling. Blind baking is essential so that the bottom of the pastry will not get soggy.
  3. To blind bake, a crust simply places a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil over the dough and fills the pan with baking weights. (Marbles, dry beans, peas, rice, or barley work just as well as anything else.) Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes. Remove baking weights and parchment and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.

For the Lemon Filling

  1. First, zest the lemons and then chop this zest very fine. Squeeze all the juice from the lemons, straining it to remove all the pits.
  1. Whisk together the sugar and eggs. Add juice zest and cream. Whisk together until sugar is completely dissolved. Bake tart at 300 degrees F for about an hour or until filling is just set.
  2. The final step is optional to create a thin brulée sugar layer on top of the tart. Cool slightly, then using a wire sieve, dust the top of the tart with icing sugar. Using a torch, brown the sugar evenly over the top of the tart. Alternatively, protect the crust edges with aluminum foil and brown the sugar by placing the tart on a low rack under the broiler until the desired color is reached. Cool completely before serving.
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