Wonderfully creamy and brimming with the flowery, tangerine flavor of Meyer lemons, this lemon curd is an excellent filling for tarts or a delicious condiment for toast and sweet pastries. This curd has a very high proportion of egg yolks, which lends it an intense flavor and a smooth consistency. If you cannot find meyer lemons you can easily substitute regular lemons. Try adding 1 tablespoon of tangerine zest to make up for the missing Meyer lemon flavor.
Although you only need the zest of 1 lemon in this recipe, do not throw away the precious rinds from the remaining meyer lemons. Before you slice and juice the lemons, use a peeler to remove the zest. Julienne the zest into thin spaghetti-like strands and candy. Use the candied zest to garnish the tart or as an added note of flavor on mini fresh berry tarts filled with either lemon or passion-fruit curd.
- One 8-inch Sweet Tart crust
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- ½ cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup strained meyer lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon (see Notes)
- Pinch of salt
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
- Bain-marie (see Notes)
- A whisk, preferably a balloon whisk (the head of the whisk is more rounded than the long variety)
Prepare and bake the Sweet Tart crust.
Make the lemon curd (see "The unique consistency of citrus curd" in Notes, below):
In the bowl of a bain-marie, whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk briskly until the mixture has thickened, doubled in volume, and holds the lines of a whisk, 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove the curd from the heat and pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard the zest. Place the bowl in an ice bath and let cool until warm to the touch. Thoroughly whisk in the butter. At this point you can chill or bake the lemon curd.
Bake the lemon tart:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour the lemon curd into the prepared tart shell. Place the tart on a cookie sheet and bake until the custard sets, 10 to 15 minutes. To test if the custard is set, gently tap the tart ring; if the center does not jiggle, the custard is set. If you have made the curd ahead of time and refrigerated it, the tart will need a few extra minutes in the oven to set.
Serve the tart at room temperature. It is delicious on its own, but whipped cream or crème fraîche and a few raspberries or strawberries make great accompaniments. I also recommend the spiced Mandarin Ice Cream, Basil Ice Cream, Guava Sorbet, or Pineapple-Rosemary Sorbet. You can also use the curd as a condiment or as a filling for mini tartlets, topped with fresh berries and candied zest.