Lemon Custard Tart

This tart recipe is terrific. I love the luscious and creamy lemon custard filling, which I developed for a recipe for lemon custard sheet cake. While the custard is hot, the lemon flavor is not so pronounced, but once the custard is cold, the lemon flavor comes through and is perfectly balanced. I like to serve it plain but it would be delicious topped with raspberries or blackberries.  I find the most efficient way to prepare this is to make the tart dough the night before I bake it and keep it wrapped in the refrigerator. I also make the custard the night before serving, chilled overnight covered in plastic wrap to develop the lemon flavor. The next morning, just bake off the tart dough and cool it, then strain the custard into the tart shell and chill until ready to serve.

Lemon Custard Tart

1-2/3 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
Zest of half a large lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a food processor combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until butter is pea-sized. It should take 5-7 pulses. In a small bowl combine egg and vanilla and mix lightly with a fork. Add egg to flour mixture and pulse until a crumbly dough just begins to come together. Remove dough from food processor bowl and turn onto the counter. Bring dough together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into a thin round and fit into a 10-inch tart pan. Resist the urge to add more flour to the dough while rolling; I actually prefer to roll it out between sheets of plastic wrap. Pre-bake tart dough for 15 minutes until light golden. Cool on rack. Remove the tart rim.

Lemon Custard
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
pinch of kosher salt
2 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
1-2 drops vanilla extract

For the custard: In a 2-quart saucepan combine milk, cream, 1/2 cup of the sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Turn heat to medium low and bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Whisk about 3/4 cup hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk egg mixture back into hot milk and continue cooking, whisking constantly until custard thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour custard into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on custard and chill until cold. Strain custard before using.

To assemble the tart: Strain the lemon custard directly over the baked and cooled tart shell. Use a spatula to smooth out the custard to the edges of the tart shell. Cover in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Serves 10-12.

This entry was posted in Christmas, Custards, Desserts, Easter, Fruit, Thanksgiving. Bookmark the permalink.

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