Whole Lemon Tart from Smitten Kitchen

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Whole Lemon Tart
Source: Smitten Kitchen

This tart is super easy to make because you can blend everything in the blender. They are more eggy and less lemony compared to the whole lemon bars from David Leibovitz (my version here), though it probably depends on the size of your lemon. I used a Meyer lemon. I used a tart dough recipe from Tartine that I had left over from a previous project, but Smitten Kitchen’s suggestion looks great as well.

Makes about: one 9inch tart
Prep time: 10 mins (not including tart dough time)
Bake time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients
Tart dough-your choice.
Filling
1 lemon, rinsed and dried.
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick butter
4 large eggs
2 tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt.

Special equipment
Blender. Tart pan.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare tart dough and pan.
3. Cut lemon into thin slices.
4. Put lemon, sugar, butter, eggs, cornstarch, and salt in blender. Blend until completely smooth.
5. Pour mixture into tart dough.
6. Bake 35-40 minutes or until tart has set.
7. Let cool before serving.

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Whole Lemon Bars

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Whole Lemon Bars
Source: David Lebovitz

I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and I finally had the chance to make it after procuring some Meyer lemons. I felt like I used every pot in the house to make these bars, but the end result really worth it. The topping is sweet, luscious and creamy, while the crust is crispy and buttery. The method for the shortbread was different from anything I had previously done, but it worked out well.

Makes about: 8’’x8’’ pan
Prep time: 30 minutes (overlaps with crust baking)
Bake time: 50 minutes total

Ingredients
Crust
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

Topping
1 lemon (preferably organic; I used a Meyer Lemon)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (I substituted 1 tbsp lime juice b/c I ran out of lemons)
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment
Blender or food processor for making the topping; 8×8 pan lined with parchment or foil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Melt butter.
3. Mix in flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
4. Spread batter/dough evenly into prepared pan and press down.
5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: First, chop the lemon into small chunks.
7. Next, in a blender, combine lemon, sugar, and lemon juice. Pulse until combined.
8. Add in eggs one at a time, pulsing until combined.
9. Add in cornstarch, salt, and butter, and blend until the mixture is thoroughly combined and fairly smooth. (The original recipe notes that chunks are acceptable).
10. When the crust is ready, pour in the filling.
11. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F and bake for 25 minutes until the topping is set (no longer jiggles when the pan is moved). A knife inserted into the center will not come out clean.
12. Let cool, then cut and enjoy.

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Shaker Lemon Tart

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Shaker Lemon Tart
Source: Tartine

Makes about: 1 9’’ tart
Prep time: 3+ hours (although there is a good amount of waiting around)
Bake time: 40 minutes.

The filling for this pie is extraordinarily simple: whole lemons, eggs, and sugar. The entire process is quite time consuming for a pie that’s so simple. The final result is worth it if you love lemons—an intensely rich lemon filling encased by a flaky and very buttery crust.

Ingredients
Crust: Tartine’s Flaky Tart Dough
Note: I used 2/3 of this recipe because my tart pan was shallower. The full recipe is below.
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup + 5 tbsp very cold butter, cut into chunks

Filling:
2 medium lemons, chilled or frozen (I used Meyer lemons)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
¼ tsp salt

Egg wash:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp heavy cream

Topping
Decorating sugar

Special equipment
Tart pan

Directions
1. Prepare lemons:

a. Slice lemons paper-thin and discard stem end and seeds.
b. Toss with sugar in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
c. Let sit for 3 hours or overnight. (This step, which tenderizes the skins, can be omitted with Meyer lemons, but I let the lemons macerate anyways). Chilling or freezing the lemons will make it easier to slice them thinly.

2. Prepare crust:

a. Dissolve salt in water.
b. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add chunks of butter. Using a 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture forms large crumbs. (Alternately, use a food processor to accomplish this).
c. Drizzle in the water until a shaggy mass. Toss dough with a fork if doing by hand, or simply drizzle water into the food processor.
d. Divide dough into 2 equal balls and shape each into a disk 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (I divided the dough into 3 balls and used 2 of them for this tart).

3. Line tart pan and prepare top crust:

a. Place one disk of dough on a floured surface or between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
b. Roll out to 1/8 thick, rolling from the center toward the edge. The final circle of dough should extend about 1 ½ inches beyond the edge of the pan if lining a tart dish. Repeat for the other disk of dough.
c. Carefully transfer 1 piece of dough to the tart dish and press into place. In this case, a 1 inch overhang should remain. Set aside.

4. Make filling

a. Whisk together eggs and salt together.
b. Add eggs to lemon mixture.
c. Pour the mixture into the lined tart pan. Evenly distribute the lemon pieces in the pan.

5. Make egg wash

a. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream. (I omitted the cream since I didn’t have any, and it turned out fine).

6. Assemble pie

a. Brush the rim of the pastry overhang with egg.
b. Lay the second piece of dough over the filling.
c. Trim the overhang for both rounds to ¼ inch. Crimp the edge and make a good seal (a fork is useful for this).
d. Brush the top crust with egg yolk.
e. Sprinkle with sugar.
f. Chill pie for 30 minutes.

7. Bake pie

a. Preheat oven to 350F.
b. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place pie pan on top of this sheet (this will make clean up easier should any filling bubble over).
c. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie for decoration (and for ventilation)
d. Bake about 40 minutes, or until the top crust is a deep golden grown and the filling is bubbling. If the top cooks too quickly, cover with a piece of foil.
e. Let cool before slicing.

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French Yogurt Cake

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French Yogurt Cake
Source: New York Times

This yogurt cake is moist and a bit dense, with a hint of lemon. It’s a bit like a lighter version of a lemon bar because of the combined flavors of the eggs and lemon. Anyhow, this is really easy to make, and perhaps it’s a little better for you than traditional pound cake 🙂

Makes about: 1 loaf
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 60-70minutes

Ingredients
½ cup yogurt, plain
3 large eggs
¼ tsp vanilla
½ cup oil
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon (used about 1 tsp)
1 ½ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Special equipment
Loaf pan

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare loaf pan by lining with parchment paper or greasing
2. Mix together yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and oil.
3. Add in sugar and lemon zest.
4. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined. (Don’t overmix!)
5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50-70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Let cool before slicing.

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Lemon Bars from Smitten Kitchen

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Lemon Bars from Smitten Kitchen
Source: Smitten Kitchen

These bars were packed with lemony goodness. I used the thinner filling suggestion from Smitten Kitchen instead of the 6 egg full-thickness filling. Unlike some other recipes, this one uses flour to thicken the lemon filling, so it’s got a bit less stickiness.

Makes about: One 9×3 pan (about 24 bars)
Prep time: 20 minutes (b/c juicing and zesting takes forever)
Bake time: 15-20 minutes (crust)+30-35 mins (filling)

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
bake 15-20 minus

Lemon filling
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 tsp zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Special equipment
9×13 pan, lined with parchment

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by lining with parchment paper (easy cleanup!) or by greasing.
2. To make the crust: cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour and salt until just combined (it might be crumbly).
3. Dump dough into pan and press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your hands. Build up a ½ inch edge on all sides. Chill if desired.
4. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
5. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour until combined.
6. Pour lemon mixture over the crust.
7. Bake 30-35 minutes, or about 5minutes after the filling is set. (Note: telling whether the filling is set is a bit difficult. Maybe one easy way of telling is that the filling is no longer liquid and the filling no longer really jiggles when you move the pan. When in doubt, though, you can always bake longer. If you insert a knife into the custard, though, it won’t come out clean.)
8. Let cool and dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
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Lemon Bars from Tartine

tartine lemon bar

Lemon Bars from Tartine
Source: Tartine

These lemon bars are full of delicious lemon flavor. The brown butter shortbread provides a delicious contrast to the richness of the lemon filling. It is certainly one of the richest lemon bars I’ve ever made, with more than a half-dozen eggs!

Makes about: 9×13 pan (24 bars)
Prep time: 10 minutes (crust)+15 minutes (filling)
Bake time: 25-30 minutes (crust)+30-40 minutes (filling)

Ingredients
brown butter shortbread crust:
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup pine nuts (optional)

filling:
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup+2tbsp lemon juice
Lemon zest from 1 small lemon
6 whole eggs
1 egg yolk (I omitted this, and it was fine)
pinch of salt

Equipment
9×13 pan, lined with parchment paper

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or buttering it.
2. Make crust: cream together confectioner’s sugar and butter. Mix in flour until a smooth dough forms. This may require actually using your hands to combine everything. (The original recipe calls for using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, which I don’t have, so I just do it by hand).
3. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, and ½ inch up the sides of the pan. The dough should be about ¼ inch thick.
4. Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes, until it becomes a deep golden brown. Rotate if needed. (The original recipe also asks you to use pie weights, but it works if you don’t have them. The weights helps to keep the crust perfectly flat.)
5. Make the filling: Whisk together eggs and salt. (The salt helps to denature the eggs).
6. Mix in sugar, lemon juice, zest, and flour. Whisk until well-mixed.
7. Pour in the filling to the prepared crust.
8. Reduce oven heat to 300F and bake until the filling is set (no longer wobbly), about 30-40 minutes.
9. Let cool before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar if desired.
10. Enjoy!