This can be a very quick and delicious dessert, if you want to skip the pastry and buy one at your favorite market. The recipe for basic sweet tart pastry dough is not very difficult but does add a bit more time. For this recipe, use a food processor for the dough, so it will be quicker. Do not, however, forget to add in some “chillin’ time” for any dough. It is much easier to handle and helps retain the pastry “flake”.
Basic Sweet Tart Dough – Oven 375 degrees
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of cane sugar
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (optional–but great with the lemon tart filling)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold butter (cut into 8 pieces)
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
Add flour, sugar, lemon peel, and salt in a food processor. Pulse 2 times to combine In a small bowl, combine the beaten egg and the milk. Scatter the butter pieces across the top of the flour (in the food processor) and pulse about 8 times.
Add the egg/milk mixture a bit at a time, pulsing each time the liquid is added. An uneven ball of dough will form in the processor. Remove to a parchment lined area and knead gently a few times to form into a nice even ball of dough. Flatten out to a circle about 6 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When dough is ready to be used, roll out and fit in an 8″ non-stick tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the dough or use pie weights to keep the tart dough even during the baking process.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Remove the tart shell from the pan and remove the bottom. Place the shell on a parchment lined baking sheet, until ready to use for the lemon filling.
Lemon Tart Filling – Oven 375 degrees
Juice from 3-4 lemons to equal 2/3 cup
1/2 cup cane sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or sour cream (Note: If don’t have heavy cream in the house but have sour cream–the tart has a tendency to crack a bit if using sour cream–however, the taste is great using sour cream, cracks and all.)
5 large eggs (NOT extra large; if so, use 4 eggs)
Whisk the lemon juice, sugar and heavy cream (or sour cream) in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix well after each addition. Pour into the tart pastry shell. Bake until set, which should be about 18-20 minutes.
When finished baking, let cool on a wire rack. Garnish with vanilla powdered sugar and a mint leaf.
TIP: The next time you have some vanilla bean pods that you have removed the beans from, just place the pod or pods in a cup of powdered sugar–your sugar will have a lovely vanilla scent and taste to it, making it the perfect garnish.