Lemon Tart with Walnut Crust

Lemon Tart with Walnut CrustEasy Peazy Lemon Squeezy
This past winter, I thought for sure I would lose all my citrus trees during that long stretch of sub-freezing temperatures. There was a lot of frost damage, and I had to cut them way back. But if you walk into my back yard right now you would never know it.

The trees are in bloom, and the scent is phenomenal. When combined with the fragrance from my honeysuckle it almost smells like Hawaii, without the beach, or the guy with a Mai Tai.

As wonderful as all this is, unfortunately I will have to wait months for the fruit. And I’ve got a wicked craving for all things lemon: lemonade, lemon sauce, lemon cake, preserved lemons…well you get the idea.

To tide me over until harvest, I picked up some beautiful Meyer lemons downstairs in the store, and made a tart from a recipe from the August/September 1997 issue of Fine Cooking magazine—which I bought years ago. It is easy, and so tasty, and a great way to end a Spring meal. 

Lemon Tart with Walnut Crust
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
The recipe makes enough dough for two crusts. You can freeze the extra raw dough, double-wrapped, for up to two months. Some ingredients are listed by weight (ounces) as well as volume (cups and tablespoons); use either measurement.
Yields one 9 1/2-inch tart.

For the Crust
2 oz. (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts, toasted
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) butter, slightly softened
2 oz. (1/2 cup) confectioners’ sugar
1 large Egg
7 3/4 oz. (1 3/4 cups) flour

For the Filling
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (from 2 or 3 lemons)
½ cup heavy cream

Optional lemon zest and powdered sugar for garnish

Make the crust
In a food processor, grind the walnuts to a fine grind. This should make about ½ cup. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg; mix to combine. Lower the speed to slow and add the flour, mixing until barely combined.

Add the walnuts and continue mixing, scraping the sides of the bowl, until the dough comes together. Divide the dough. Wrap the half you’ll be using in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Double-rap the other half in plastic and then in foil, and freeze for future use.

Heat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9 1/2-inch tart pan.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a round About 1/8 inch thick. Arrange it in the pan, trimming to fit. Line the crust with foil or kitchen parchment and weight with beans or pie weights.

Bake the crust
Bake until the edge is light golden brown (about 20 minutes). Carefully remove the beans and foil and bake until the bottom is dry and light brown (about another 5 minutes). Cool to room temperature.

Make the filling
Heat the oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined. Add the lemon juice and cream and whisk until just combined. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer and pour into the prepared pie crust.

Bake the tart
Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. Bake the tart until the filling is set, 25 to 30 min. Cool at room temperature.

If desired, garnish with confectioner’s sugar and/or lemon zest.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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