I’m a certified lemon lover, and if you are too, then this tart’s for you. It has a sweet almond crust and a bold lemon curd filling that is topped with a light lemon cream and lots of crunchy sugared almonds. The lemon curd is not made in the traditional way, and by that I mean in a saucepan. Instead, the eggs, yolks and sugar are whisked together in a bowl over simmering water, similar to how you would make a sabayon. Once the mixture thickens, you whisk in a good amount of softened butter, one tablespoon at a time. The curd is light, creamy and quite delicious. A note on the crust: after blind baking it, make sure to remove the parchment paper and weights carefully. If the center of the crust is not baked enough, it may stick to the paper. If you see that it’s sticking, return it to the oven a few minutes and then remove the paper and weights.
Makes one 9 1/2-inch tart, serving 8
Almond Tart Shell:
- 3/4 cup (97 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 15 minutes
- 1 large (18 grams) egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold heavy cream or water
Creamy Lemon Curd:
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs
- 4 large (74 grams) egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (161 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 10 tablespoons (141 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (42 grams) sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 cup (232 grams) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- Reserved Creamy Lemon Curd (from above)
- Finely grated lemon zest
Make the tart shell:
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 ½-inch fluted tart pan with a removeable bottom, making sure to get into all the indentations around the fluted edge.
- Combine the flour, almond flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to blend. Scatter the butter cubes on top and process for 5 to 10 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and cream (or water) with a fork to blend. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and process until it starts to come together as a dough.
- Break up the dough into pieces, distributing them evenly around the tart pan. Use your hands to press the dough over the bottom and up sides of the pan, making it as even as possible. Loosely cover the tart shell with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400˚ Butter a piece of parchment paper and place it, buttered side down, on the tart shell. Fill the shell with dried beans or rice, making sure the weights are pushed up well against the sides of the tart shell. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is just set. Reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F and remove the pan from the oven. Carefully remove the parchment paper and weights from the tart shell (if the crust is not baked enough, it may stick to the paper, so do this gently). Bake the crust for another 10 to 15 minutes, until it is lightly browned around the edges and cooked in the center. Remove the pan from the oven, carefully slide the tart pan onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the lemon curd:
- Fill a medium saucepan one-third of the way with water and bring the water to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and salt until blended. Place the bowl over the saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until it is uniformly pale and thickened to the consistency of thin mayonnaise, about 8 minutes. Remove the bowl from over the saucepan of water and whisk in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each piece is incorporated before adding the next. Put 1 cup of the curd in a small bowl. Scrape the remaining curd into the cooled tart shell, then place the tart in the refrigerator. Cover the bowl containing the reserved curd with plastic wrap,and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Make the Sugared Almonds:
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Place the sliced almonds in a small bowl and toss well with the vanilla, sugar and salt. Scatter the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing them once during baking, until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Make the topping:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and granulated sugar to medium-firm peaks. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and gently fold in the reserved Lemon Curd until blended. Scrape the topping into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip (such as Ateco #8). Pipe large dollops of the Lemon Topping over the top of the filling. Sprinkle the Sugared Almonds and some lemon zest on top. Serve the tart immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to a day.