Whole Lemon Tart via Smitten Kitchen

This is the perfect dessert to bring to a dinner party.  It’s quick, easy and requires minimal ingredients, yet the results are bright, festive and luscious.  Smitten Kitchen knows how to make a dessert, and I love this recipe.  You literally take a whole lemon, peel and all, and process it with other ingredients to make a filling.  I wouldn’t skip making your own crust- it’s one of the reasons that makes it so good!  Also, I had some leftover dough and filling so I made some mini tartlets using a mini muffin pan. This tart is slightly custard-y and the lemon flavor isn’t overpowering (like I expected it would be).  It’s a perfect balance between sour and sweet and everyone will love it!

Whole Lemon Tart via Smitten Kitchen
Total Time: 2 hours

Homemade crust
• 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 stick cold unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon, diced
• 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cold, iced water
• 1 cold egg

Crust: Whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter in three batches and work into flour with pastry blender until butter is pea sized (visible butter bits are good- that’s what makes for a flaky crust). Slowly add 1/4 cup of cold water and the egg and form dough with a spatula. Add another tablespoon of water if dough isn’t formed yet. Gently and quickly knead dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour in fridge (if made ahead, dough will keep for 1 week in fridge). Roll out the dough and transfer dough to pie pan and pierce all over with a fork. Place pan in freezer until oven is preheated to 375F. Bake at 375F for 10 min with an aluminum foil cover on top to weigh it down, and then bake an extra 5 min without foil. Remove crust and lower temperature to 350F.

Lemon Filling
• 1 small lemon (about 4 ounces) rinsed and dried, ends cut off
• 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
• 1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
• 4 large eggs
• 2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
• 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven 350°F. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet.

Slice the lemon into thin wheels, remove any seeds, and toss the wheels ( lemon flesh and peel), sugar and chunks of butter into a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is thoroughly pureed. Add the eggs, cornstarch and salt and pulse until the batter is smooth.

Pour into prepared tart shell but don’t pour it past the top of your crust or it will become difficult to unmold later. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling is set and the tart starts to get very light brown on top.  Let cool on rack, then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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