Dorie Greenspan’s Tartest Lemon Tart: Happy Pi Day!

Dorie Greenspan’s Tartest Lemon Tart: Happy Pi Day!

I admit, it is 100% coincidental that I made a pie (ok, a tart) in time for Pi Day, 3.14. But here we are.

It’s not the prettiest, and for quite a while there I was convinced it was a disaster (as in, from the time I poured the filling into the shell, until I cut into the tart 9 hours later), but hot damn it tasted good. Super-tart, as promised, but with a lovely nutty shortbread crust and (my own addition) a thin layer of raspberry jam between crust & lemon.

This particular recipe has been well-covered by the Tuesdays with Dorie folks, so I won’t spell it out. (You’ll find it here.)

I followed the recipe quite closely, with three key changes:

  1. Since it calls for a 9″ tart pan and mine is 10″, I used a 9″ springform pan instead. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since the filling would’ve completely overwhelmed the shell in a tart pan. The high sides of the springform saved it.
  2. As I said above, I spread about 1/4 cup of raspberry jam, which I’d strained to be seed-free, on the par-baked shell before pouring in the lemon filling.
  3. When I cut into my lemons (go organic for this, please, since you’ll be using the peel) the pith was quite thick; I feared it would make the filling bitter. So instead of tossing the whole thing into the blender I pulled out my handy vegetable peeler and took off the zest. I left out the ends entirely, since there’s very little actual lemon there. Then I used a paring knife to remove the pith. Only the zest and the naked lemon insides made it into the blender.
It took quite a bit longer than the recipe said before the filling was set enough to trust, though it was still distressingly jiggly; those 15 extra minutes were enough to turn the top noticeably brown. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous. And since it was for a dinner party, I quickly threw together a Plan B, Saucy Chocolate Fudge Cake.
The tart went into the fridge for a good six hours, by which time it had set completely. I crossed my fingers and removed the springform. (I know, you can’t remove a springform with fingers crossed. Whatever.) And the darn thing wouldn’t budge. I had to carve the tart out of the pan with a knife, which turned out to be a good thing: In doing so, I took off a layer of burned crust. A quick sifting of confectioners sugar over the top, and it actually looked ok. As in, not completely embarrassing, and enticing enough to serve to friends who’d forgive me (as long as they were warned, and there was chocolate to make up for it).
I’m not sure if our friends were just being polite, but the tart was met with enthusiasm and half of it was gone by the end of dinner. I’ve been sneaking pieces all day. In fact, I think I hear that last sliver calling me right now…