Sweet Pastry Crust:
In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat
until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until
incorporated. Don't over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.
Add flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Don't
overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.
Flatten dough into disk,
cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm.
Have ready an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart
pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the
pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm)
thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to
the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the
pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry
outwards to get uniform thickness). To make sure it is
the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out
pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.
When the pastry is rolled to
the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your
rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan.
Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too
much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small
floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll
your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Roll rolling pin over top again to get
rid of any extra pastry. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the
dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20
minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten in the flour.
Preheat oven to
400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line
unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with
pie weights, rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan
and evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake the crust for 20 to 25
minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown.
Lemon Curd: While the crust is baking make the
In a stainless steel bowl
placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and
lemon juice until blended. Cook, whisking constantly (to prevent it from
curdling), until the mixture becomes pale in color and quite thick (like a
hollandaise sauce or sour cream) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C on a
thermometer). This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and
immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the
butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted.
Add the lemon zest.
Immediately pour the lemon curd into the baked crust and smooth the top.
Reduce the oven
temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Bake the tart for about 10
minutes or until the lemon curd is firm but still a little wobbly in the center.
Do not let it brown or burn.
Meringue: Meanwhile, in
a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg
whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until
soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks
Using a spoon,
place dollops of the meringue over the entire surface of the hot lemon curd,
starting at the outside edge of the tart. (Make sure the meringue comes
right up to the crust and there are no gaps between the crust and the lemon
curd.) Then, with the back of your spoon, gently press down on the meringue to
get rid of any air pockets and to make sure all the lemon curd is covered with
the meringue. If desired, swirl the meringue making a few decorative
peaks. Return the tart to the oven and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or
until the meringue has nicely browned.
oven and place on a wire rack to cool, away from any drafts. When cool,
serve or else cover and refrigerate.
Serves 6 - 8
Leftover pastry can be used to make