We hosted Easter dinner at our home for a few of our close friends. It was our first-holiday meal in our home since moving in almost 3 years ago. Now we have hosted many dinner parties from small intimate groups of 4 up to 12 guests, and while all have been really lovely, there is something about the holidays that adds a more sparkle. Don’t you agree? After settling in on a traditional menu of ham, potatoes, and asparagus, I decided that in addition to the strawberry tart that would be enjoyed, that we had to have lemon as well, after all, Easter dinner is just not Easter dinner without something lemony. Hence, the birth of this ultra creamy Meyer Lemon Cream Tart.
I went back and forth prior to starting some pre-holiday baking on whether I should make a traditional lemon meringue pie or more of a lemon bar. I wanted the dish to be light but creamy, and as fresh as springtime. The decision was made after spying gorgeous Meyer lemons at the market. Nothing screams spring (and Easter) in my opinion as Meyer lemons. I kept the recipe simple, lemons, sugar, eggs and creamy. The topping was some sweet lemon slices, and nothing else. The filling is so creamy that it really does not need meringue or whipped cream, and in my opinion, both would mask the gorgeous light flavor. Don’t wait until next Easter to make this luscious creamy lemon tart, it can be enjoyed all year long.
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Meyer Lemon Cream Tart
- 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
- cookie sheet
Sweet Tart Dough
** a Dorie Greenspan recipe, printed with permission from the wonderful Dorie.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
candied lemon garnish
1/2 of a recipe of simple syrup
1 medium-sized lemon, thinly sliced
meyer lemon cream tart filling
5 medium-sized Meyer lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
1/2 cup of Meyer lemon juice (from above lemons)
2 tablespoons unsalted high-quality butter, cut into small pieces
sweet tart dough
- Put the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in – you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, a process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change – heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
- Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removed bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed – press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you do not need to use pie weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
candied lemon garnish
- Bring the simple syrup to a boil, and add the lemon slices.
- Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
- Remove each slice of lemon and place it on a plate.
- Use the lemony simple syrup for lemonade.
meyer lemon cream tart filling
- Zest the peel off of the Meyer lemons, and mix with the sugar. Let sit for at least 60 minutes to allow the sugar to mix with the oils from the lemon. You can let it sit overnight as well.
- Preheat the oven to 300.
- Place the cream, egg yolks, eggs, and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat to combine.
- Add the lemon juice and mix for 1 minute.
- Place the baked tart shell on a cookie sheet, and pour the filling into the crust, lightly tap on the cookie sheet to remove any bubbles.
- Slide into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Lightly lay the candied lemon slices on top of the tart, and bake for another 15 – 30 minutes, until the filling is set.
- Cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.