This beautiful Lemon Tart consists of a buttery
shortbread crust, a creamy smooth lemon filling made with fresh lemon
juice, sugar, and cream cheese, all covered with lovely swirls of whipped
cream. Now, if you serve this tart the day it is made the tart's crust will be nice and crisp and
you will taste the full tanginess of the lemon filling. Delicious. But if you store
the tart in the refrigerator overnight, the shortbread crust will soften a
little and the flavor of the
lemon filling will mellow slightly, so all the textures and flavors of the
tart seem to blend together. Again, delicious.
To make this Lemon Tart we start with a shortbread crust. Most of us
think of shortbread as a cookie, but it also makes a great crust that is very
easy to put together. Just place the flour, sugar, salt, and cold butter in
your food processor and give them a quick whirl until you see a dough
beginning to form. Then simply press the dough into your tart
pan, prick the bottom of the pastry, and place the pan in the freezer for
about 15 minutes. Although we are going to pre bake the shortbread crust,
there is no need to line the pastry crust with parchment paper, and fill
it with pie weights to prevent the pastry from puffing up during baking.
This step is eliminated when you freeze the tart shell before baking. Once the crust is baked,
next comes the lemon filling. What I like about this filling is that it
does not use exotic ingredients and its main ingredient, lemons, are
available year round, at a good price, with consistently good quality. But
besides using the lemon's juice and its zest, this lemon filling contains
cream cheese. Unusual, yes, but it gives this filling a creamy
texture that you could describe as almost cheesecake-like. Don't worry,
though, this filling still has that wonderful tart lemony flavor that we
all love. Again, as with the shortbread crust, all that is needed is a
quick whirl of the ingredients in your food processor. The filling is then
poured into the pre baked tart shell and baked until the filling is just
set. Now, you will notice that I have
topped the Lemon Tart with a layer of whipped cream. This is done
both to temper the tartness of the lemon filling and to give a nice
presentation, especially if you take the time to pipe the cream with a
decorative star tip.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Place the pastry in the prepared tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press
the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back
of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.) Pierce the bottom of the crust with
the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up
while it bakes.) Cover and place
the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will
help prevent the
crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220
degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
When the pastry
chilled, place the tart pan on a
larger baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees
(177 degrees C).
Lemon Filling:In a food processor or electric mixer, place the
cream cheese and process until smooth. Add sugar and process until incorporated.
Add the eggs and process until thoroughly combined. Add the lemon juice and zest and
process until well blended and smooth. Pour filling into pre baked tart shell
and bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes or until filling is set. Transfer tart to
a wire rack to cool and then cover and refrigerate until well
chilled, at least an hour.
Put your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Then
beat the whipping cream
and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Can just spread the whipped cream
over the filling or transfer the whipped cream to a
pastry bag fitted with star tip (#1M), and
pipe stars over the entire surface of
the tart. Refrigerate until
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