Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Citrus Tart

If you like lemon bars, you'll like this citrus tart.  It's like the lemon bar's lighter, more sophisticated cousin.  At first glance you expect a heavy, rich custard, but the texture is light and the taste tart and tangy.  And it was way more successful than the lemon souffles I made around the new year and would rather forget, after they fell and tasted awful eggy.  But everyone raved about this tart, and my friend Charmie asked if it would "make an appearance on wasb."  "What does that stand for?" I asked.  "What about second breakfast!" she said.  It was so cute, I figure I have to start using the acronym.

On an unrelated note, check out this bottle of vanilla extract!  This monster is 32 ounces of top-quality Madagascar bourbon vanilla, with your usual-sized bottle next to it for comparison.  I was both horrified and excited to get this gift, which is larger than a bottle of cough syrup.

 I didn't need as many lemons and limes as the recipe called for.  Three lemons and two limes gave me the juice I needed, but you can see here the fruits varied in size.

I often hear that press-in crusts are easier, as opposed to the ones you roll out.  I'm not sure I agree.  I used the usual tools recommended, like the bottom of a measuring cup and of a drinking glass, but the dough kept sticking to their bottoms.  My hands worked best, and once the dough stayed down I used an offset spatula to smooth it out.  In hindsight, a dusting of flour on my hands might have helped.

After it's pressed in and pushed up the sides, prick all over with a fork and place it in the freezer.

The prebaked crust.  It shrunk and puffed up a bit and I was afraid it wouldn't hold much filling, so I pushed down the sides and bottom.  Plus, I used my 9-inch tart pan instead of the 11-inch pan called for, so I had quite a bit of leftover filling.

So I made a mini-tart with some leftover dough.  Not wanting to prepare anymore dough, I poured the last of the filling into ramekins to bake as custards.  But the filling by itself may be too tart, so I might crumble some cookies on top to cut through the tartness.

All ready to go in the oven.  I always place tarts on a baking sheet so any seepage doesn't spill onto the oven floor and burn.

It baked up beautifully.  The smaller 9-inch tart pan took about the same time to cook as stated in the recipe.

Citrus Tart
From Martha Stewart Living's January 2010 Issue
For the Crust
1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt
½ cup whole blanched almonds
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg yolk

For the Filling
5 large eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp coarse salt
½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 6 lemons), plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 4 limes)
2 tbs heavy cream (optional) -- I say, go for it!

Preheat oven to 350°.  Make the crust: Butter an 11-inch fluted tart or quiche pan with a removable bottom. Whisk together flour and salt.  Pulse almonds with confectioners' sugar in a food processor until finely ground.

Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Beat in almond-sugar mixture.  Add yolk and flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pan.  Prick dough all over with a fork.  Freeze for 20 minutes.

Bake crust for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Press down bottom and up sides if needed.  Bake until golden brown, about 13 minutes more.  Transfer pan to a baking sheet, and let cool for 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 300°.

Make the filling: Beat eggs, granulated sugar, and salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add juices, zest, and cream, and beat until incorporated.  Tap bowl on counter to release air bubbles.  Pour into prepared crust.  Bake until set, about 25 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Garnish with currants or raspberries and a dusting of confectioners sugar.


  1. It looks beautiful! I should try it when Ikram gets back.

  2. I love love love lemon bars and this tart is beautiful! I also have a bunch of Meyer lemons to use up! :) Bookmarked!


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