The first time I had home made lemon tart was when my friend, Scherry, brought some to class. I was fascinated for two reasons: first, the tart was baked to perfection, not a crack on it and second, it started my love for this delicate desert for I never really knew lemon and eggs could taste so well together. Since then I have tried making this desert far too many times and failed miserably. Sometimes the lemon curd would leak from the bottom or it would crack in the middle and go hard or I’d end up adding too much lemon.
Then, one day, skimming through the recipes at joyofbaking.com, I saw the picture of a beautifully baked lemon tart and I thought of that day in class. I was tempted: I printed a copy and got to work. PERFECTION! The cream cheese works like magic in the recipe. I felt really proud when I was done with this.
Want to give it a try? Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Crust:
1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the Filling:
140 gms cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, without seeds and pulp
2 large eggs
1 tsp grated lemon zest, optional
(top with swirls of sweetened whipped cream, optional)
First, there’s something you need to understand about the lemons in Pakistan, something that took me three years to realize. They are way too sharp. The lemons we have here are tiny and extremely tangy. That is why I have cut down the amount of lemon juice to half the original amount in the recipe.
Now, get a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and grease it. In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar and salt and pulse enough to combine. Add the butter chunks and pulse again till you have a crumble like texture. Take out the dough and using your finger tips, press the dough on to the bottom and up the sides of the greased tart pan. Warning: This step requires a lot of patience. Then, pierce the bottom of the uncooked crust with a fork. This will keep the dough from puffing up. You don’t need any beans for this.
Cover the crust and put it in the freezer for 15 mins, precisely. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220 C or 425 F. Once the 15 mins are up, take the crust out of the freezer and bake it for 13- 15 mins. Watch it carefully for the edges burn quickly. Once done, take it out of the oven and let it cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F or 170 C.
Time for the filling!
Pulse the cream cheese in the food processor till smooth. Add sugar and process till combined. Then add in the eggs, pulse to combine and finally the lemon juice and zest. Process again till you have a smooth mixture. Pour it gently into your tart crust and bake for about 25 – 30 mins or until the filling is set. Do not over bake or the filling will crack in the middle.
Let it cool before you pipe out the cream on top. Thank you for reading. More pictures and details on Facebook.