This attractive lemon tart with candied almond topping is actually simple to make. But there are two crucial parts: Do not overcook the eggs for the lemon curd, and be sure to refrigerate the curd until completely chilled prior to assembling.
- For the curd
- 12 large egg yolks (save 2 egg whites for Candied Almond Topping)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- For the crust
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 3/4 cup flour, plus additional for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Candied Almond Topping (see related recipe)
For the curd: In a medium saucepan off the heat, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar. Gradually stir in the lemon juice, then place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (meaning that when you draw a finger across the back of the spoon, the finger mark remains intact). Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter and lemon zest, and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, for at least 3 and up to 12 hours.
For the crust: In a food processor, combine the almonds, granulated sugar and zest and pulse just until the nuts are finely ground, but not so long that they turn into a paste. Add the flour and salt, and pulse just until combined. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarsely ground cornmeal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, water and almond extract. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and process until the mixture starts to come together. Scrape the mixture onto a work surface and press it into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a 10-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom.
Generously flour a work surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into about an 11-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the tart pan. Gently press the dough into the pan, folding any overlapping dough back into the edge of the tart. Line the tart pan with foil and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.
For the final assembly: Spoon the lemon curd into the cooled crust and sprinkle with Candied Almond Topping. Cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate until the curd has set, for at least several hours or up to a day.
Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar. Cut into wedges.
Adapted from Molly O'Neill's "A Well-Seasoned Appetite" (Viking, 1995).
Tested by Ed Bruske.
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