Cinnamon and Lemon Tart

Automne 2019
food and drink

BY: Joanne Yolles

There are a couple of secrets to this lemon tart. For optimum texture—and a crisp cookielike crust—make sure the tart shell is virtually fully baked before adding the lemon filling. The second trick is to catch that moment in the baking when the filling is just set but still wobbly in the centre; it will continue to set to perfection upon cooling. The addition of cinnamon to both the crust and the meringue makes everything that much more interesting.

1 ¾ cups (425 mL) cake flour
1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking powder
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) icing sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1 cup (250 mL) sugar
5 to 6 large lemons
4 eggs
¾ cup (175 mL) whipping cream

⅓ cup (80 mL) egg whites, from about 3 eggs
½ cup plus 2 tbsp (155 mL) sugar
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) cream of tartar
1 ¼ tsp (6 mL) cinnamon

1 For the tart dough, in a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and icing sugar. Add the egg, followed by the vanilla, and mix well. The mixture may look curdled but will come together once the dry ingredients are added.

2 Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

3 On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a 12-inch (30-cm) circle and fit it into a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and chill for 1 hour or overnight.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

5 Line the tart shell with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the beans and foil, and continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and baked through. Cool on a wire rack.

6 Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C).

7 For the lemon filling, place the sugar in a bowl and finely grate zest from 5 lemons directly into the sugar. Stir well with a fork to combine, and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients. 

8 Juice and strain the lemons—you should have ¾ cup (175 mL) of juice—and set aside. Place the eggs in a separate mixing bowl and whisk just to break them up. Add the lemon sugar and whisk just to combine. Add the lemon juice followed by the whipping cream. Whisk just to combine, then strain mixture through a fine sieve.

9 Place the cooled tart shell on the middle rack of the oven and pour in the lemon filling. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or just until the filling is set around the outside but still wobbles in the very centre. Cool on a wire rack.

10 For the meringue, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

11 Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping down any sugar that clings to the side of the bowl. Continue stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved and the whites are hot to the touch—they should reach 175°F (80°C) on an instant-read thermometer.

12 Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the meringue is stiff, glossy and cools to room temperature, about 5 to 8 minutes.

13 Spoon mounds of meringue on the lemon filling. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread the meringue right to the edges ofthe crust and slightly mound it in the middle. Using a fine sieve, sift the cinnamon over the meringue.

14 Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The tart is best the day it is made but keeps well for a day or 2 if refrigerated.

Serves 10