Deconstructed Meyer Lemon Tart Recipe
This post written by our resident Farm Foodie – Debra Dubief
More than any other time of year, the beginning of spring seems to beg for lemony desserts. My yearning for them always leans towards something that includes a deliciously tart and creamy concoction: lemon curd.
How something so smooth and silky got the name “curd” has always baffled me. The rich creaminess of eggs and butter somehow lightens with the presence and punch from a large dose of lemon – Meyer lemon, of course. Aside from everyday uses like spreading on scones or toast, it makes a fabulous cake filling, a generous scoop folded into whipped cream is divine with fresh berries, and it would also make an out-of-this-world shortcake – something worth remembering as we edge ever closer to summer. But there are few things that satisfy this craving better than a simple lemon tart.
It’s long been a favorite dessert in its simplest form, but somewhere along the line I found an accomplice in the elder foodie kid who shares my adoration for the marriage of lemon and chocolate. Apparently it’s genetic because once identified there was no stopping us.
Our lemon tarts now always have a glossy layer of something akin to dark chocolate ganache between crust and curd. Not enough to take over or masquerade as a chocolate dessert with lemon, but just enough to let the subtleties and nuances of both shine through in harmony – the buttery tart shell keeping it all together, literally and figuratively.
So when my mom invited us over for Easter dinner, I thought this would be the perfect thing to bring…until it also looked like a great day to go skiing.
Wanting this same lush combination, but in need of something that could be made ahead and would be easy to throw together after dinner, I decided to deconstruct the tart and add a store bought component.
The more I thought this over the more I liked it – ski trip or not. In fact the simple act of making a luscious bowl of lemon curd was a beautiful reminder that there were so many things one could do with this little bowl of sunshine.
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Limoncello (or heavy cream)
Place chocolate and Limoncello (or cream) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring often until melted. Remove the pan from heat.
Meyer Lemon Curd
Yield: Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces, at room temperature
Grate zest from lemons, set aside. Juice lemons and strain out pulp and seeds.
Put butter in a medium bowl, place a mesh strainer over the top and set aside.
Combine lemon juice, eggs and sugar in a stainless steel bowl and whisk to combine. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like, about 8-10 minutes. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the bowl.
Remove from heat and immediately pour through the strainer into the bowl with butter. (Gently stirring the curd in the strainer will help to push it through.)
Whisk together until butter is completely melted, then stir in reserved zest. Transfer to a ceramic or glass container, cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
Deconstructed Meyer Lemon Tart
1 3/4 cups Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe above)
3 tablespoons Chocolate Lemon Spread (recipe above)
12 small pure butter shortbread cookies (from a package, bakery or home made, if you’re so inclined)
1/2 pint whipped cream, sweetened to taste
Spread a thin layer of warm chocolate on each piece of shortbread, don’t worry if they break, and set aside. You can store the chocolate covered shortbread for up to one day as long as they are kept air tight.
Place 2-3 shortbread pieces on each plate. Top with approximately two tablespoons Meyer lemon curd then pipe or spoon about a tablespoon of whipped cream onto the curd and serve.