I love this time of the year, when Meyer Lemon blossoms take over Bay Area. The scent is intoxicating. During these cold winter months, I tend to hoard the slightly tart but sweet, vibrate yellow gems and use them in everything from hot tea to savory dishes.
We recently hosted a farewell party for a dear friend of ours, who happens to be a great baker, and I wanted to serve a memorable dessert. I toyed with the idea of gooey chocolate, poached pears or even baked apples filled with a cardamon crumble. Then I spied the dish of Meyer Lemons on the counter and immediately thought of a tart. Now, most people think of a lemon tart or pie as a summery dessert; but, in the height of citrus season, this recipe makes perfect sense.
Since our friend is a baker, I wanted to go that extra mile. I decided to change up my usual pate sablee recipe by using rosemary sugar. Yes, rosemary, in a sweet dessert. Meyer Lemons and Rosemary should hook up more often than the occasional savory recipe.
The night before baking, I mixed the sugar with a sprig of rosemary. You must use fresh rosemary for this; otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy the scent that is going to grab you by the hand and have you hooked.
I learned a baking trick awhile back, after spying a Dorie Greenspan lemon tart recipe; use the entire lemon. That is right, the whole darn thing, minus the seeds. The processed lemon peel adds great texture to the creamy lemon base. As I was processing my lemons and sugar, I remembered that bottle of Preserved Meyer Lemon simple syrup. Hmmm, why not add that instead of the usual vanilla bean paste. If, I say so myself this was a brilliant move, as all our taste-buds were being teased with every bite; slightly tart, lightly sweet and salty, and aromatic.
I am thinking this is going to be perfect served to my Valentine. The only thing I will do differently is to add a bowl of lightly sweet meringue along side it. Think of the fun you will have.
Rosemary Pate Sablee
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 2” sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, very cold, cut into tablespoons
- 1 egg yolk
- The night before baking the tart rub the leaves from the rosemary sprig and the sugar together in a shallow bowl. Put into a small container, until the next day.
- Using a food processor, pulse the sugar and rosemary together, until powdery, and the rosemary finely minces. Add the flour and salt to the food processor, give a couple whirls.
- With the food processor running, add a tablespoon of butter at a time. Continue until you have used all of the butter, and the mixture will be course crumbs.
- While the food processor is running, add the egg yolk, and continue mixing until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead, just to incorporate any dry ingredients.
- Heat the oven to 375. Butter a 9” tart pan that has a removable bottom.
- Press the dough mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan; it is okay if the dough is slightly over the lip of your pan.
- Roll a rolling pin, across the top of the pan to even out the edges. Any dough that falls onto the counter should be gently pressed into the tart pan. Freeze the crust at least an hour before baking; then you will not need to line the tart and use pie weights.
- Slide the crust into the center of the oven. Bake the crust for 35 minutes. If, you like the crust a bit softer, remove it from the oven after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meyer Lemon Rosemary Tart
- 2 lemons, scrubbed clean and dried
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon Morris Kitchen preserved Meyer lemon syrup
- powdered sugar, for garnish
- Heat the oven to 325.
- Place the pre-baked tart crust on a cookie sheet.
- Slice the lemons in half and remove the seeds. Place the lemons and sugar into a food processor and chop until the lemons are very fine. You will need to scrape down the sides to combine the sugar and lemon pieces.
- Add all of the ingredients except the butter and syrup; pulse until mixed well.
- With the food processor running add the butter and then the syrup; blend until creamy, about 2 minutes. Pour into the tart pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then increase the heat to 350.
- Bake for an additional 25 – 35 minutes, just until lightly golden and slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven. Let cool to room temperature.
- Dust with a light dusting of powder sugar. Serve. Eat.
All photos styled and shot by Denise Woodward.
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