One more Fourth of July recipe, this time a twist on another recipe.
When I made the Strawberry Tart, I made a double batch of crust. I did this for two reasons. One, I wasn’t confident in my ability to roll it out and get it into the tart pan on my first try. Two, I wasn’t 100% sure what size my pan was or what size my tart crust recipe really was. Of course, as it turns out, the recipe made exactly twice as much tart crust as I needed, and I was able to put together my tart with no troubles at all, so there was no need for the backup crust after all.
Which is how I found myself with an extra ball of tart crust dough in the fridge, and how I decided to make another tart for the 4th of July. When I started thinking tarts, I honestly was thinking strawberries and blueberries and cream, in some variation of the red, white, and blue dessert that shows up at every 4th of July barbecue.
When I thought about what I had–a flaky, rich, buttery crust with just a touch of sweetness–I tried to come up with things that would go well inside, and after a while, I realized what the crust reminded me of: the bottom of a lemon bar. Yum! So I decided to make a lemon bar filling to bake inside my tart crust. I read through several recipes before coming up with the method below.
Lemon Bar Tart
For the Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 10 tablespoons frozen or cold unsalted better, cut into cubes
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cup plain sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
Make the tart.
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process for about 10 seconds. Add in the egg yolk and process for a few more seconds.
2. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp. ice water and mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. You can add a little more water if necessary or a little more flour if it’s too wet. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
3. Spray your tart pan with a non-stick cooking spray made for baking, or grease and flour your tart pan. Roll the dough into a round about a half an inch thick, then transfer into your tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the pan evenly, spreading it out all the way to the edges and up into the fluted sections of the pan. Refrigerate for about an hour.
4. After the crust is properly chilled you need to prebake it. Heat oven to 425 (F). Sufficiently prick the entire bottom of the crust with a fork. Take a large piece of foil and butter one side, press the buttered side into the crust and up along the sides. Weigh the foil down with a pie weights (or if you don’t have pie weights, a few cups of raw rice or dried beans will do the trick) Bake for 12 minutes.
5. Now remove the tart from the oven and reduce the temp to 350 (F). Take off the weights and the foil and put the crust back in and bake until it’s a nicely browned, 10-15 minutes. Take out and cool completely on a rack.
Make the Filling.
1. While crust is baking, prepare the lemony filling. In a larger bowl, add sugar, flour, and baking powder.
2. In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly with the lemon juice, and poor into the flour mixture. Mix well, and pour on top of warm baked crust.
3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the tart pan, on a cooling rack. When cooled, dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar and refrigerate.
4. Serve chilled.
Note: This was very good, but I have a few improvements for next time. First, I need to be more careful with the tart crust, because mine ended up with a hole in it, and that lead to lemon filling leaking all over the place. I made this work, but it would’ve been easier if my tart crust had been liquid proof. Second, I didn’t have fresh lemons on hand to juice, so I used bottled lemon juice. I think it would’ve been better with fresh. Finally, I didn’t have enough time for the bars to truly chill, and I think they got eaten so quickly that even the “leftovers” didn’t get chill time. Oops.