LAZY MARY’S LEMON TART
Living in Southern California, you can’t escape the sweet scent of citrus blossoms wafting above the smog. I discovered a particular kind of lemon - the Meyer Lemon - growing in a friend’s backyard. Here in LA, it miraculously blooms and fruits twice a year, once in the winter months and once in the spring/summer! Reading more, it seems that this sweeter than average lemon is a native of China, a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange.
I’ve wanted to try making the Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart recipe ever since I heard it mentioned on NPR at the end of January. Now that it’s summer and there’s plenty of gorgeous sunshine, why not make a big yellow round dessert?!
I’m a complete beginner baker, never grew up with it. My mother used our oven to store pots, a tradition I carry on today. So I was freaked out about making a crust. But this recipe for both the crust and filling are great, remarkably easy.
Ingredients: 3 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached whole wheat), 1 1/2 cups cold butter (I froze it by accident, don’t do it!), 1 egg, 6 tablespoons ice water (add ice cubes to water), 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1. Mix flour, butter, egg, cold water, vinegar and salt together with a big fork or spatula. I don’t have a food processor, but I think that would also help. Apparently you don’t need to break down the butter completely. I actually froze the butter so it was very hard and chunky. I had to really use my hands to squish the cubes :(
2. The portions make two crusts so divide the dough and form two disks. Add the lemon zest to the tart dough and save the rest.
3. Place the dough in the center of the tart pan. Spread it out and up the sides of the pan with your fingers. This was very hard for me since the dough was a bit mushy. I tried to spread it up on the sides as much as possible and make the bottom even. The tart pan I bought has a removable bottom, which I didn’t understand until my friend told me it’s for ease of serving later!
4. Bake the tart shell for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I took it out and tried to also smooth out the sides/ center a bit more.
Ingredients: 1 large Meyer lemon cut into pieces and seeds removed, 1 1/2 superfine white sugar (I used powdered sugar and only 1 cup), 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Mix everything together in a blender until smooth. Yay for my vitamix!
2. After you pre-baked the shell for 10 minutes, pour the filling. Put it back into the oven and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I rotated my tart after 30 minutes since my oven flame doesn’t seem to be even. Check to see if the top is turning golden!
The recipe can be found here. If you’re looking for more things to make with Meyer lemons, check out this LA Times article, 100 Things to do with a Meyer Lemon.
Now I realize how much butter goes into tarts and pies! Wow.