Sweet and juicy, Meyer lemons are prized by chefs and loved by home cooks. The Meyer lemon has always been something of a California secret, and every year when its brief growing season begins in early Spring, eager cooks passionately seek them out. The Meyer lemon is not as assertive as the common supermarket varieties, but it offers so much more in nuanced flavor that it is unforgettable. This gorgeous tart is the ideal way to showcase its seductive fragrance and flavor. (Regular lemons will work well in this recipe too, but you’ll likely want to add a bit more sugar.) The floral notes of Meyer lemons meld with lavender in the most heavenly way.
MAKES 1 X 10 TO 11-INCH TART SHELL, OR 6 X 4 ½-INCH TART SHELLS OR 12 1 ½- TO 2-INCH TARTLETTE SHELLS
FOR THE CRUST
- Prepare and cool RICH NUT TART PASTRY CRUST in a tart pan with a removable bottom Click the link for recipe http://rich-nut-tart-pastry
FOR THE LEMON-LAVENDER CURD
- 1 ¼ pound (5 or 6) Meyer lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon Culinary Lavender buds + additional ¼ teaspoon roughly chopped
- 5 ½ ounces (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 7 large egg yolks
- 5 large eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Whipped cream for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 5 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon lavender and pulse until the zest and lavender is very finely minced into the sugar.
- Squeeze lemons to extract 1 cup of juice. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the juice, lemon-lavender sugar, butter and salt. Place over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted.
- In bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly add the hot lemon mixture to eggs, until blended, taking care not to scramble the eggs. Return the mixture to saucepan, and place over low heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency; do not allow it to boil. Remove from heat, and continue to stir to cool and stop the cooking. Strain lemon curd into a bowl. Add the remaining lavender buds and adjust sugar to taste; the curd should be tart, but may need additional sugar if the lemons were unripe. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it right against the surface of the curd. Allow to cool.
- To assemble: Spoon lemon curd into tart shell, and smooth the top and. Bake until filling has puffed around the edges, about 30 minutes. Cover edges with foil, if necessary, to prevent over-browning. Cool to room temperature before serving with whipped cream.