I love pie but I have always shied away from making them because of the crust. I don’t know why I have a mental block about pie crust, but I’d like to get over it. To ease into the world of pastry crusts, I have decided to try out several new tart recipes. Tarts are great because it’s easy to find one that does not require a typical pie crust. For my latest experiment, I decided on this lemon honey tart with salted shortbread crust. The crust is perfect because I love sweet and salty combinations and while this recipe is a bit involved, the crust is easy.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/4 tablespoons salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1" pieces
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 lemon (Meyer suggested)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Coat springform pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Place butter, and powdered sugar in food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse until mixture resembles medium size-pebbles. Transfer to springform. Press dough evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2" up sides of pan. Cover and chill.
- Using a mandoline*, slice lemon into paper thin rounds. Remove seeds. (It is important to slice the lemons as thin as possible as they are part of the filling and will be consumed as part of the tart. If you are not using Meyer lemons, blanch slices in boiling water or until softened and drain.) Mix sugar, honey and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add lemon slices and toss to coat. Let sit until lemon is softened and sugar is dissolved, 30-45 minutes.
- Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat to 325℉. Bake crust until center is firm to the touch and the edges are beginning to turn brown (about 30 minutes).
- While crust bakes, whisk eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk flour, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl, add to egg mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in lemon juice. Add lemon slice mixture, mix gently to combine.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300℉. Pour filling into hot crust. bake until filling is set and slightly puffed around edges, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool on a rack completely.
- Add heavy cream and sugar to a stand mixer with the whisk attached. Whisk until the cream forms thick, heavy peaks (about 5 minutes). After tart has cooled completely, spread a thin layer on top, reserving some cream for decorating. Chill tart for at least 4 hours. Remove from refrigerator and unmold. Place remaining chilled whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with your desired size of icing tip. Place decorative dots around entire cake. Slice and serve.
- Special equipment: 9" diameter springform pan
- *I did not have a mandolin so I used my food processor with the slicing attachment.
I was very happy with how this tart turned out. The crust is amazing. It’s sweet but not too sweet and the salt offers a certain level of interest not typically found in shortbread. This was the first time I made this recipe. I chose it because of how beautiful the picture included in the recipe was. The tart filling was almost translucent and the lemons appeared to be beautifully suspended within. My tart filling turned out more opaque and the top split a bit. I decided to add some whipped cream to the top to cover it up, and I’m very glad I did. In addition to looking amazing, it really helped to cut the tart flavor from the lemon. It rounded out all the flavors nicely. Another note worth mentioning, is that I did not have access to Meyer lemons. I used regular lemons instead. I would either use Meyer lemons next time which have a much thinner skin, or I would omit the sliced lemons all together and add extra lemon zest instead. I did blanch my lemons for four minutes but the skins still turned out too thick and we ended up picking them out of the tart while we were eating it.
Overall my tart turned out amazing. I did not get the exact results I saw in the magazine, but I was not afraid to get creative and add my own touch to it. In addition, I learned a few things about what I would / would not do in the future. This is exactly why I love baking and trying new things. There is so much to learn and it’s so easy to find ways to challenge yourself. And hey, if you don’t get the results you were looking for, who cares? It’s only a tart. Worse things could happen right? I hope you try this recipe. Let me know if you make modifications and how it turned out. Keep challenging yourself and your skills and despite the results you will still have a “win”.