Friday, June 1, 2012

A Little Late -- Meyer Lemon Tart




"So, you're really into this whole, trendy foods thing, huh?" My friend John asked me, looking skeptically at the 2 pounds of Meyer lemons I'd dumped out onto his kitchen table.

"Get zesting," was my reply. I spread out the pages of a recipe I'd printed from a Google search of "What to do with Meyer Lemons" and tried to smooth out the creases they'd acquired after being shoved in my purse. I bought the lemons on a whim at the local Whole Foods earlier in the day and had sent John a text saying "I just spent over $10 on lemons. We're baking something with them. Tonight." I'd missed Blood Orange season, I wasn't going to be left behind when it came to Meyer Lemons. These little things were all over the blogosphere and I wanted my piece of the craze to be documented on this blog.


"Why don't you just use regular lemons, like a normal person. They're probably not much different..." I paused for a moment, then pulled out a knife from the drawer and carefully cut him off a slice, using the kitchen island as a cutting board and hoping his mother wasn't looking. "Oh," he said, "these are very different." John then proceeded to make bagels, as he knew to keep his distance when I was on a mission such as this.

When baking pizza at a 20-something male's apartment, as John is doing here,
beer bottles take up most of the counterspace. So it is necessary to
roll out pizza dough wherever there is room--even the floor.

This was back in April, when Meyer lemons were all the rage on the blogs, mere days before my emergency gallbladder surgery would make me forget about these pictures entirely. These little beauties (which taste like the secret love child of lemons and oranges) are in season from about November to April, and bloggers across the internet rush to create creamy, tangy, tarts, cookies, pastas, and tall pitchers of lemonade before the season ends. Apparently the all-powerful Martha Stewart was the one to give them their jumpstart to fame. I was at the very end of the season, but I, too, wanted to make my mark.

John's cat, Ruth, is generally our sous chef during these gatherings.

Then I totally forgot to write about it. Oops. Damn you, gallbladder.

You guys--you have no idea how proud I was of this tart. It was beautiful. As per usual, I had failed at rolling the dough flat enough and had ended up just piecing the crust together like play dough but, honestly, I am no pastry chef, and it tasted just as delicious with a few lumps than it would have if it looked perfect. The honey-graham crust with the sweet and tart custard, topped with creamy whipped cream and fresh raspberries--ohhh yes. I was even able to make a second pie to give to John's mom, to thank her for letting us use her kitchen for the millionth time to do our cooking experiments. Thank goodness I got to sample a few slices of tart before my gallbladder restricted me to a liquid diet for two weeks. Small miracles, eh?

John's family has the most beautiful kitchen and dining room.

Meyer Lemon Tart with Graham Cracker Crust
(I found the recipe listed here, recipe adapted from here)

Graham Cracker Tart Shells
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream the butter  until smooth.  Add the sugars and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and light colored. Add the honey and beat until combined.

Combine the flours, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl, and add to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix until the dough is well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and form into a disk – the flatter the better. Chill until firm, at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Roll out the dough to be 1/8 inch thick. Press into your desired tart pan. Prick dough with a fork all over.

Bake tart shell until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Cream
(makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
zest from 2 lemons
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 ounces butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened but not melting

Create a water bath by placing a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl unto the pan so its bottom does not touch the water. Combine the sugar and lemon zest together and add to the metal bowl. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.

Cook the mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly, until the cream thickens. Keep whisking while the mixture is heating up to prevent the eggs from cooking.

Once the cream is thickened – you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk – take the cream off the heat and strain it into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Let the cream rest for a bit until it cools.

Add in the butter pieces a few at the time and combine on high speed. Once all of the butter has been added, let the mixture combine for a few minutes longer to ensure the mixture is perfectly smooth.Once the cream is finished pour it into a container and let it chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour before assembly.

To assemble the tart: Pour cream into cooled shell and chill. Top with fresh whipped cream and fresh raspberries and keep cold until ready to serve.

Note: This recipe made two whole tarts by just increasing the cream by about 1/3. I made a full batch and then a half batch.



17 comments:

  1. I think that lemon desserts are one of my absolute favorites (after chocolate). I love the sweet/tart flavors. Your tart looks lovely!

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  2. It's never too late for a scrumptious tart like this!

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  3. Bookmarked for next year's meyer lemon season! And yeah...meyer lemons are WAY different/better than regular lemons! I'm glad you got your piece of the proverbial pie!

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  4. That lemon cream sounds divine! Will have to make this soon! And btw, I love that John is working on the floor!

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  5. HOW DID I NOT KNOW MEYER LEMONS TASTE LIKE ORANGES/LEMONS!!?? Now I want to make juice with them...mmmm

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    1. Don't you live in NYC? That could be why. I imagine their produce is somewhat lacking :P But, yes, Meyer lemons are magical. If you are near a Whole Foods and there are still any lying around I highly suggest trying one!

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  6. It looks beautiful! Great job. Hope you are recovering well from surgery.

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    1. Fully recovered! However, I may have trouble digesting fats for the rest of my life, since the gallbladder regulates bile, which digests fat. Experimenting with what does and doesn't work. It's quite frustrating!

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  7. Wow!
    I love tarts!
    And this one looks really good!

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  8. This looks great, and I am a total sucker for anything lemon. Seriously. My 15 month old daughter eats 'em like they're candy:) Maybe I'm missing the button, but do you have a "follow" button for Blogger? My food blog is AnythingButPickles! but I also have a family blog and always follow the blogs I like in Blogger so they're all in one place.

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    1. I think so? I follow all the blogs I like just on my Google Reader, so I don't usually subscribe through blogger. I did a gadget search in blogger though and the suggested button is already in my sidebar. It says "subscribe to"--thanks for wanting to follow me :)

      And I've been following AnythingButPickles for a little while now :)

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  9. I especially love the raspberry embellishment! What a fun dessert!

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  10. Personally it is NEVER too late to post something in my opinion. If nothing else it is great to have it for personal record and if it is out of season someone can always bookmark it or pin it for next season. And the picture in the male apt made me laugh, though I have to admit at one point in a very small condo there were kitchen appliances in my bedroom closet.

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  11. What a gorgeous tart!
    Actually, I have never heard about Meyer lemons, but I've got to look this up!

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  12. Meyers lemons really are worth getting giddy over, as is this recipe. So no worries about being late.

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  13. The tart is a gorgeous masterpiece! I'm in love. I've only been able to find them once in my rinky dink town and most of them were all shriveled up. Boo.

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  14. Yuuumm. Love the cat. My Flatpac is like my little sous chef. Those raspberries look like you picked them yourself!

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