My oldest son was taking a trip out to L.A. recently and asked for some restaurant recommendations. I told him to try to go to Lucques, the restaurant owned by Suzanne Goin. That reminded me that I’ve always wanted to make her Meyer Lemon Tart, from her book, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”. It’s a different kind of lemon tart, because it has a layer of bittersweet chocolate on the bottom, an idea she got from her sister, who asked her to put some chocolate in her lemon tart.
Meyer lemons are a little bit different than a regular lemon. They are a cross between a kind of tangerine and a lemon, resulting in a sweeter taste than a regular lemon. They are also rounder, less acidic and have a smoother skin than a regular lemon. More and more grocery stores are carrying them.
I have changed the recipe just a bit from Suzanne’s. I use regular, salted butter in the recipe and then just omit the salt. I also made my dough in the food processor, which I prefer, wheras she makes hers in a mixer. I doubled the amount of chocolate for the layer of chocolate because – well, why not?
This tart is made by “blind baking” the crust first, which completely bakes the crust before filling it with a mixture which will not be baked further. Blind baking keeps the crust crisp longer. To do this, you will need a piece of parchment paper or just tin foil and something that can keep the crust weighted down, like dried beans or pie weights, which are specifically made for this purpose.
Meyer Lemon Tart
for a printable recipe, click here
adapted slightly from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
for the Pâte Sucrée:
make enough for 2 tarts – you can freeze one half of the dough or just cut the dough recipe in half
- 2-¾ plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ pound butter (2 sticks), cut into slices
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 extra large egg yolks
For the filling:
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 3 extra-large egg yolks
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 10 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
For the dough:
Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl.
In a food processor, add the flour and sugar and process until blended. Add the sliced butter through the feed tube and process until coarse crumbs form. Through the feed tube, add the cream and egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together and forms a ball. Do not overprocess. Remove the dough and divide it in half and flatten each into a disc. Place each on a piece of floured plastic wrap. Freeze one disc and chill the other for ten minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and place a piece of plastic wrap on top. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a ¼-inch thick circle, moving the plastic wrap as you need to so the pin doesn’t stick to the dough. Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. Pinch off any excess dough from the edges and press into the pan where it may need it. Chill the tart for 1 hour.
Blind bake the shell: Dock the bottom of the tart with a fork. Line the chilled dough in the tart pan with a piece of baking parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake 15 minutes until set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the paper and beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. (If the edges are cooking too quickly, I find a pie shield is very helpful.) Set aside on a rack to cool completely.
For the filling:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Spread the chocolate evenly on the cooled crust and chill in the fridge at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has solidified completely.
While the crust is chilling, make the curd. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, alternating between a whisk and rubber spatula until the lemon curd has thickened to the consistency of pastry cream and coats the back of the spatula.
Remove the lemon curd from the heat. Add the butter an little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely.
Let the curd cool about 8 minutes and then strain it through a sieve into the prepared tart shell. Chill the tart in the refrigerator. (Since the tart filling is not baked, make sure it is completely chilled for a few hours before serving. It will not be as firm as a baked tart filling.)
All photos by The Italian Dish