It was probably back in 2004 that I first experienced the smooth, sweet, citrus, buttery flavor of homemade lemon curd. Prior to that the word "curd" made me feel sick for some reason, until I discovered what went into it.
If you like lemons, limes, oranges or any type of fruit in most cases, you can create your own fruit curd. If you've only tasted the jarred kind, then IMO, you haven't tried true fruit curd. The flavor is ecstacy. I can eat it plain, over berries, with cake, berries and whipped cream or in a tart - like the photo above.
Many years ago I purchased the book Sunday Suppers At Lucques, by Suzanne Goin, solely for this recipe, but soon discovered many more luscious recipes in this cookbook. I'm embarrassed to say that it wasn't until last week that I finally made the recipe. It was everything and more than I imagined!
I'm not sure why it took so long to make this tart, but an old roommate of mine from college, Cathy, sent me fresh meyer lemons and passion fruit from her garden for my birthday, which was yesterday. Trying to come up with ideas to utilize the fruit I remembered the Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate. I knew these meyer lemons were destined for this tart.
Although there are several stages in the recipe, it's really quite simple. Unfortunately, I was so immersed in creating the tart only a few photos were taken. Hopefully it will be enough of a tutorial.
Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate will be a superb choice for the end of your Easter meal.
Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate
For the pâte sucrée (makes enough for two crusts):
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 extra-large egg yolks
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter
For the tart:
1 recipe pâte sucrée
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 3 ounces)
4 extra-large eggs
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice is fine)
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
A pinch of kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
Make the pâte sucrée:
Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter on medium speed until you have a coarse meal. Gradually add the cream and yolks and mix until just combined. Do not overwork the dough.
Transfer the dough to a large work surface and bring it together with your hands to incorporate completely. Divide the dough in half, shape into 1-inch-thick discs, and wrap one of them to freeze and use later.
If the dough is too soft, put in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up a little. If the dough is manageable, place it on a lightly floured work surface, sprinkle a little flour over the dough, and roll it out into a 1-inch-thick circle, flouring as necessary. Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over an 11-inch tart pan. (The recipe calls for a 10" tart pan but they don't make one - at least I couldn't find one). Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers. To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the tart pan for a nice clean edge, or work your way around the edge pinching off any excess dough with your fingers. Chill for 1 hour.
Make the tart:
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Take the tart pan with the pâte sucrée from the refrigerator. Prick the bottom with a fork and line it with a few opened and fanned-out coffee filters or a piece of parchment paper. Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the paper and beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Spread the chocolate evenly on the crust and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has solidified completely.
While the crust is chilling, make the curd. Whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, and fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (regular lemons will work too).
Remove the lemon curd from the heat. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely.
Season with salt. Let curd cool about 8 minutes, then strain into the prepared tart shell. Chill tart in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, whip the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or by hand) until it holds soft peaks. Cut tart into six wedges, plate them, and serve with dollops of whipped cream. (I didn't use any whipped cream - it tasted incredible without it)!
Note: This tart should be served cold, so make it at least a few hours before serving. When you make the lemon curd, you need to stir it the entire time. For an ultra-smooth curd, I use both a whisk and a rubber spatula, alternating between the two as I stir. Start with the whisk, and as the mixture begins to get frothy, switch to the spatula (which helps get rid of the froth), scraping the bottom and sides continuously. Remove the curd from the heat and let it cool slightly before pouring it over the hardened chocolate layer. Don’t cool the curd completely before pouring or it will lose its nice sheen. You can also make this tart with regular lemon juice.—Suzanne Goin
Enjoy this luscious dessert. It's the perfect ending to your Easter dinner!