I have been making lemon bars for many years now from a recipe by John Taylor also known as Hoppin’ John. A while back I thought it would make a great tart, and guess what, it does. If you like Low Country cooking you should search out his cookbook Charleston, Beaufort & Savannah: Dining at Home in the Lowcountry. It seems like a good time to share this recipe.
SERVES 6 TO 8
For the crust::
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
For the custard:
2 to 3 Meyer Lemons, zested first then squeezed for 1/3 cup juice
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup ussalted butter, room temperature and cubed
zest from two Meyer lemons
powdered sugar, for dusting the tart
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer, or in a bowl and mixing with a wooden spoon, cream the butter with sugar and salt. Add the flours and mix well. The shortbread crust will look crumbly and like cous cous or cornmeal. Turn the dough out into an 8 inch tart pan and press it evenly into the pan starting with the sides and working toward the center. Place your index finger over the top of the flutes and push the crust upward using you index finger as a back stop.
2. Slide that tart shell into the oven and bake it for 20 minutes.
3. While the tart is in the oven combine the eggs, sugar, zest, 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice in a heat proof mixing bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients.
4. Place the mixing bowl over low heat, if you are worried about this you can most certainly use a double boiler, and whisk the custard until it starts to thicken. It takes about 13 minutes on low so it will take longer in a double boiler. Once it is very thick, like warm pudding and leaving ribbons as you whisk, remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter.
5. When the tart crust is done remove it from the oven and add the lemon curd. Bake the tart another 10 minutes or until set.
6. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely. Once cool sprinkle it with powdered sugar just before serving, slice and serve.