Some of my very favorite recipes are written in short hand on a piece of scratch paper. That is how this one is, I jotted it down at the end of my baby shower after having a piece of lemon tart so good I knew I had to have the recipe! My mom and her good friend Joy had thrown me the shower when I was about 7 months pregnant with my first son, Ford. It was at Joy’s house, and she had made the lemon tart. There was probably a cake as well, I can’t say for sure, because the tart stole the show.
One of the great things about this dessert is how beautiful and bright it looks on your plate, perfect for a celebration. And it is pretty easy to make as long as you have a Cusinart for the crust!
While the crust is in the oven you can make the raspberry sauce, which will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days. If I am making this dessert for a party I often make the crust and raspberry sauce the night before and then whip up the filling first thing in the morning. That way the tart is fresh and delicious, but I have more time for prepping (madly cleaning my house, blow drying my hair, etc…) the day of the event.
If you do not have a cone strainer a mesh sieve or strainer paired with a rubber spatula will work well. You need a fine enough mesh that the seeds will stay in the strainer. It will take forever to drain on its own, so give it a little encouragement by pushing the sauce through with a pestle or rubber spatula. This will also keep the color of the sauce nice and pink. It gets darker the longer it is exposed to air, so I like to make the sauce relatively quickly and then get it into a mason jar in the fridge until it is time to serve.
When Joy was giving me the recipe she told me she likes to put some additional lemon zest into the crust even though her recipe did not call for it. I use about 1 teaspoon in the crust. It is not necessary to measure. Just zest your lemons before starting the crust and measure out your tablespoon for the filling, whatever is left over can be thrown into the food processor with the four, butter, and sugar. If you are going to wait to make your filling later the zest stores fine overnight wrapped in wax paper and tucked into the fridge.
Now comes the most challenging part of the whole recipe, getting the filled tart into the oven without spilling it everywhere! I am going to borrow a phrase from Kathleen Weber here, it is time for “courage in the kitchen” and you can do it, just move slowly. And if you spill a little, so what, it is nothing a sponge cannot handle (unlike moving a pan full of water and ramekins full of Creme Brulee, where a spill is truly a catastrophe!).
Bake until filling is set and tart is just starting to get a golden color on top, then let it cool COMPLETELY before dusting with powdered sugar. (If it is still warm the sugar will just melt into the tart and you lose the look, do it too many times and you make your tart a whole lot sweeter than you intended.) You can garnish the top with lemon slices or not, depending on how many lemons you have. Then slice and serve with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.
Lemon Tart with Raspberry Sauce
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp lemon zest use additional zest in crust as desired
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 baskets fresh raspberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- powdered sugar
- lemon slices
- Preheat oven to 300˚. Place 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the butter, and any additional lemon zest in food processor that has been fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- With food processor running, add 2 egg yolks through the chute. Continue processing until dough has balled up on one side of the bowl, about 1-2 minutes.
- Press dough firmly into bottom of 11" tart pan, pressing up the sides. If you have a small rolling pin you can use that to smooth the bottom and finish the edges.
- Line with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or poke bottom with fork to prevent puffing up during initial baking.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before filling and baking a second time.
- Preheat oven to 325˚. Beat 3 eggs at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, mixture will be thicker and lighter.
- Add 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup flour, baking powder and 1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice. Beat slowly for 30 seconds to combine, then turn up to high speed for 30-60 seconds to mix well.
- Pour filling into tart shell. (You will likely have more filling than will fit.)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until filling is set and top is just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
- Puree raspberries in food processor or blender until smooth. Pour into mesh sieve or metal strainer that is fit over a medium bowl. Push sauce through strainer with rubber spatula leaving seeds in the strainer. (One or two may make there way into the sauce and that is ok.)
- Whisk about 1/4 cup sugar into pureed raspberries. The amount of sugar will vary with the sweetness of the berries, so you may need a little more or less. Serve immediately or store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. The sauce keeps well for several days.
- Dust tart with powdered sugar, garnish with lemon slices (optional). Serve with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.