I’ve been meaning to post this lemon tart recipe since I made it for Valentine’s Day. A weekend trip to Naples was all the inspiration that I needed. Each time we visit my family in Campania, we leave with a car full of organic oranges and lemons picked from the garden. Thanks to the 30 year old trees, we enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade orange marmalade, lemon confit and this simple and delicious lemon curd tart.
Here’s my recipe that is adapted from the lime curd tart in the barefoot contessa cookbook.
For the lemon curd
- 4 lemons
- 1 – 1.5 cups sugar
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 5 medium eggs at room temperature
- a pinch of salt
For the tart shell
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- a pinch of salt
Make the shell first.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter and sugar with a hand or electric mixer until they are well combined. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt to the butter-sugar mixture. Mix the dough on a low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch round false-bottom tart pan. Chill until firm.
Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil to fit inside the tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart with a fork and bake until lightly browned (approximately 25 minutes). Let cool to room temperature.
Then make the filling.
Remove the zest of 4 lemons with a knife or zester (avoid the white pith). Squeeze 1/2 cup of juice from the lemons. Put sugar and zest in a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse until the zest is minced well. Cream the butter with the sugar and lime zest with a hand or electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, approximately 5 – 10 minutes. The curd will thicken just below a simmer.
Remove from the heat and set aside. Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature. Optional: I top the tart with candied lemon slices.