Meyer Lemon Tart – I’m in Love!

I hereby confess to an open fondness for fruit tarts. Free from the tyranny of top crust making and lower in calories by that very lack of an upper crust. They can be as fancy as you wish or humble and rustic when limited time is an issue. Full of ripe berries, nuts and caramel, of custard, of apples, pears or plums. Pretty much anything that can be pied can be tarted. In my house there is a running teasing argument as to pie or tart. I am of the tart persuasion and he is of the pie love affair. So he calls my tarts pies with great delight and I snicker at his silly ways. Either way it is a win win.  Tarts can be useful too when you have limited amounts of filling material; a 9 inch tart doesn’t take that much to fill it to an acceptable level. My old-fashioned 10 inch aluminum pie tins take more than twice that amount to be considered appropriately full. Don’t get me wrong; I adore pie in so many versions it could be considered an obsession but this post is all about the tart. 

This is a Meyer lemon masterpiece of a tart. I bought a bag of 6 Meyer lemons for less then $3 at Lidls and they were lovely looking. For your edification I will advise that a Meyer lemon is like a lemon but also like an orange; in fact, it is a species created from both, sort of. Actually, to be technical it is half mandarin orange (those sort of flat small tangerines) and half citron which is a genetic parent of the common lemon. Meyer lemons were introduced into the US in 1908 and they are sweeter than lemons, slightly deeper yellow and rounder than a lemon.  The juice is a tad darker and the skin is tasty enough to be extremely sought after by many chefs. Okay, enough on the ancestry of my beloved Meyer lemons. Just know that they are no common citrus and that  you can buy them in many grocery stores locally. Please do not attempt this tart with any sort of regular lemon; it must be made with Meyer lemons as the normal lemon’s white pith is way too bitter and even the juice isn’t sweet enough for this treat.

This tart uses every part of the lemon except the seeds. I make a lemon jam that is similar in this respect. So when I made this tart it did remind me of my lemon jam only more roasty yet zingy somehow and the crust’s flaky texture really amplified its charms. I made mine in a 9.5 ceramic tart pan. You could make it in a 9 inch one and make a hand pie or two out of the spare filling.  I saw the recipe on someone’s fb post and made a few changes and threw one together this past weekend since I already had the lemons and was intrigued by how it uses the whole fruit. Definitely a keeper of a tart. You could make it with a regular pie crust and regular flour in filling if you are not gf.  Enjoy!

unbaked filled tart; see how pale it is!

 Meyer Lemon Tart

Ingredients:

One GF tart shell; prebaked about 10 minutes at 375 degrees:

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and lemon juice.  Mix briefly until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 10-15 minutes. Roll out and line a 9.5 tart shell. Prick surface with a form in many places to keep it from puffing up. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Let cool at least 10 min before filling.

Filling:

5 Meyer lemons

1 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp. divided

1 medium to large egg and 1 egg yolk

A pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp flour (I used my King Arthur Basic GF Mix)

8 Tbsp. butter melted and cooled for 5-10 minutes

Directions: cut up the lemons into halves, quarters then eighths, remove seeds. I got over 5 cups of chunks. Put all the filling ingredients into a large food mixer and pulse until it is a coarsely chopped yet cohesive filling. Just don’t completely puree the lemon chunks; you want a bit of size difference not a puree.  Pour into the tart shell and sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of sugar. Then bake at 325 for 20 on the bottom shelf of your oven. Turn heat up to 350 and bake another 30 minutes. I think I could have left it in for a few more; the filling should darken a bit and crust will be nicely browned. The filling should be jiggly but will set as it stands. Chill for several hours and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or by itself. Enjoy!

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