Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lazy Lemon Tart

"Squeeze my lemon..."
I know, I know..."lazy" probably isn't an adjective that comes to mind when one thinks about my cooking...not in any way, shape or form. Surprisingly, though, I do like to do things other than cook (it's true, I swear !!) And one of the things I really like to do is be outside, particularly this time of year when the weather starts getting nice. I'm always on the lookout for recipes that meet my criteria when I find something that looks like a sweet, delicious Culinary Orgasm , yet actually gets me out of the house and into the sunshine. Not only does this tart get me into the IS sunshine. I mean, just look at it !!

"Good day sunshine !"
Variations on this tart have been popping up in my internet perusing for some time now - most recently in the form of "Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart" (thank you to my friend wild apache for pointing me towards that particular gem). Smitten Kitchen also has a few variations on this theme...this tart , and a bar recipe in Deb's wonderful cookbook.  The theme, though, is a bit weird in that it involves whole lemons. Not just the juice and zest, but actual, whole lemons - you don't do a dang thing to them, other than barely cut them. And that's not the only thing that makes it lazy...said whole lemons are simply thrown in a blender or food processor with the other filling ingredients (which only consist of butter, sugar and eggs), processed into oblivion, poured into a shell, and baked. Doesn't matter what temperature the butter is, no egg separating, no nothing - mix and go. This is totally bizarre - well to me anyway. I'm the mistress of complex desserts - the more steps and more elaborate, the happier I get. When I play with lemons, I get crazy - recreating restaurant cakes, or making delicate souffles. Mix and go ? Are you crazy ? Well, yes I am...and this one came with enough provenance that it was worth getting my crazy on. And this thing is CRAZY good.  The filling is light, but not overly so...nice and lemony, but not overly tart. It's delicious plain, but dresses up pretty too (whipped cream, raspberries, glazed almonds....whatever moves you.

A few notes :
  • I did make my own tart shell (the recipe I use is here . Yes, that probably means it's semi-lazy instead of full-on couch me, for me this is semi :) .) If you are not adverse to frozen or refrigerated pie crust, by all means go for it - and if you don't have a tart pan, use your biggest pie plate (it won't look the same but it will still taste really great. Really, though, a good tart pan is less than $20, and it will make your pastries look totally cool and professional. And that shell recipe is so easy - no rolling, it's basically just playing with sand in a pan.)  I've also seen online comments where folks have made this in a graham cracker crust and even in a chocolate cookie crumb crust; I think those would work great as well.
  • The tart pan I used was 11"; the filling amount was perfect, and I didn't have any of the problems with overflow or not setting up that other folks reported. If your tart pan is smaller, just make sure you don't overflow - any extra can be poured into a custard cup or ovensafe bowl and baked right along with the tart.
  • Superfine sugar - if you don't have this, just grind up some regular sugar before you start. (Superfine dissolves easier; I'm guessing that's why this recipe uses it) Use an extra 2 tablespoons or so, then measure again after grinding.
  • Lemons - I did use Meyer lemons, as they are available at my favorite local market (Russo's). Meyer lemons are sweeter and thinner-skinned than standard lemons; I was worried about this thing being too bitter as it was, Meyers just seemed like a safe bet. This was definitely NOT bitter at all, and I do think this would work fine with regular lemons as well - though I would probably do what a lot of other commenters did and remove as much as the white pith from the peel as I could easily get off (basically just peel the lemon and take a sharp knife or veggie peeler to the white part of the peel, getting whatever you can off without making yourself crazy. ) I did remove the seeds from the Meyers, as well as the hard nipple-like bits from either end  - just couldn't see them ending up in something I wanted to eat !) Whatever you use, you want to end up with about 5 oz of lemon parts (no, you don't have to weigh it - just throwing that out there :) )
In conclusion, definite Culinary Orgasm...the lazy way !

mmm Meyers

ready to bake

Lazy Lemon Tart

Filling :

2 small Meyer lemons or one large standard lemon,  cut into 8 pieces, seeds and excess white pith removed
1 1/2 cup superfine suger
1 stick butter
4 eggs
1 partially baked tart shell, your favorite (mine is here )
Put all filling ingredients into a blender or food processesor, and process until smooth.     
Pour into tart shell.
Bake 35 - 40 minutes at 350 degrees  , or until filling is set (should barely jiggle) and top has just started to go a very light brown.
Let cool completely before serving.