Many people may lament the gloom and dreariness of winter, but its shining silver lining can be found in citrus season. While browsing the shelves of your local grocery store, you may stumble across citrus varieties you haven’t tried before. And if you’re really lucky, you may encounter one of the most coveted lemon varieties of all: Meyer Lemons. There are many ways to enjoy this citrus jewel, but few can capture its beauty and essence than that of the Meyer Lemon Tart. Everyone seems to have their own recipe version of a lemon tart, but trust us when we say Meyer Lemons take it to a whole new level. A sweet, buttery crust touched by a hint of vanilla and zest enveloped by a silky lemony custard, this is one unforgettable dessert that you’ll soon turn into a seasonal regular.Although the Meyer Lemon boasts a smooth, vibrant yellow skin and adorable miniature shape, it’s more than just a pretty face. Once regarded as an ornamental fruit found only at farmer’s markets, they’ve become one of the most sought-after lemon varieties during citrus season. Although regular lemons are available year-round, Meyer Lemons are a seasonal treat best eaten from January to May and July to December. Much sweeter and easier to peel, Meyer Lemons lack the strong mouth-puckering acidity found in regular lemons. However, we would still advise against eating them straight out of hand. Instead, you can use this juicy and aromatic fruit for flavoring a variety of recipes from juices to desserts to sauces.
Meyer Lemon Tart
Yields: 6-8 servings
For the crust:
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of water, ice-cold
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated Meyer Lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
For the lemon curd:
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/3 cup of Meyer Lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons of grated Meyer Lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 teaspoon of corn starch
For the meringue topping
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar
- Piping bag
- Kitchen blowtorch
1. Begin by making the crust. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.
2. Once the dough begins to form, add the vanilla extract and water and mix together. Lightly flour a surface and form the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about half an hour.
3. After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator, place the dough into a greased fluted tart pan, pressing the dough along the sides. Trim any excess dough. Place the pan in the freezer for about half an hour.
4. Remove the pan from the freezer. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the crust for about 25 minutes until it becomes golden brown. Once it’s baked, remove from the heat and allow for it to cool.
5. While the crust is baking and cooling, you may make your lemon curd. In a sauce pan, whisk together your eggs, egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Bring the heat up to medium-low for about 7 minutes, making sure to stir constantly. Turn off the heat and whisk in your butter pieces.
6. Pour in your filling into the tart shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow for your lemon tart to cool to room temperature. You can either add the meringue topping and then serve immediately, or place the tart in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if serving later.
7. To make the meringue topping, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites on high, until the mixture becomes foamy. Slowly add in the granulated sugar and continue mixing for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks begin to form. Then, slowly add the powdered sugar and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
8. Place your meringue into a piping bag, fitted with an icing tip of your choice. Pipe small decorative amounts all around the edge of the tart. Finally, use a kitchen blowtorch to slightly toast the tops of the meringue peaks.
Do you have your own version of a Lemon Tart? Have you tried Meyer Lemons before? What are your favorite ways to enjoy them?