When I am considering a recipe, one of the tasks I set myself is to find similar recipes to the one that I have chosen–which is a ‘maximizer’ skill of trying to find the best or most consistent. When I took up the notion of baking this classic lemon tart, I looked through my cookbooks as well as online and found, a bit unusually so, a great deal of nearly perfect symmetry in the components of the recipes for this sweet:

~2 cups of sugar
~Meyer Lemons (this one varied in number)
~1/4 tsp kosher salt
~4 eggs

All the recipes called for the lemons to be sliced very thinly (my mandolin came in quite handy) and macerated in the sugar for at least four hours, preferably overnight. Well. Done and done. Layer the lemon slices, pour the egg over it, cover with a top piece of pastry, and bake till browned and golden.

One thing I ended up doing a bit differently this time out–I was able to stretch out the pastry dough to make over four different tarts. A couple of nights ago I made the blueberry frangipane tart, tonight is the Shaker lemon tart, and I have two more tart shells in the freezer, ready to go when I choose the filling. As neither of these shells have any sugar in them, they could also serve just fine for more savory fillings–like a quiche or perhaps a leek and potato tart.

The only caution about baking dessert tarts is–keep active. Either invite people over for dessert or take what you can to work for your friends. I’ve been known to bake–simply out of joy for doing– and giving away the results to neighbors. I mean, really–food is for sharing and I enjoy being able to count how man toes I have by looking straight own at a ninety degree angle.

Here is the tart in the oven after 30 minutes.


And here it is complete and cooling. Note the brown bits that overflowed out of the sides and the bottom–the sugar caramelized nicely but needed to be removed.