Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate

This fancy lemon tart with a surprise layer of chocolate hiding beneath its sheen has become somewhat of a tradition at Easter dinner. It’s just so darn festive, isn’t it? The original recipe, from Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques,  calls for Meyer lemon juice, but since we so rarely have Meyer lemons here, I’ve always made it with regular, and it comes out just great. It really is stunningly beautiful, but it’s also a perfect ending for a heavy meal: a luscious lemon curd that doesn’t really fill you up but is rich enough to satisfy. The chocolate is just the gild on the lily.

I was making four tarts this time: two each for two different Easter dinners, one at Peggy’s and one at Kelli’s.

That called for a lot of lemons!

The thin layer of chocolate that eventually becomes hidden:

I was concerned that an enormous batch of lemon curd would be a problem on the stove, so I broke it up into two pots. You could have seen me trying to whisk with my left hand. Rather humorous:

And, the finished tart:


Lemon Tart

1 recipe of pate sucree (recipe linked and below)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 extra-large eggs
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup Meyer lemon juice
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
A pinch of kosher salt

For the Pâte Sucrée

1/4 cup heavy cream
2 extra-large egg yolks (or three large)
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter

Whisk the cream and the egg yolks together in a small bowl.

Stir together the flour, sugar and salt and place in food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until just combined and the dough looks like small peas.

Add the egg and cream mixture and pulse until you can press the dough between your finger and thumb and it stays. Dump the dough onto the counter and bring it together with your hands.

Divide in half and shape into 1-inch thick discs. Wrap both in plastic wrap and chill. You may put one in the freezer for later use.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle some dough over it. Rub a little flour on a rolling pin. Starting in the middle and roll toward the edge, then turn the dough a quarter turn. Repeat until the dough is 1/4-inch thick.

Starting at one side, roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin to pick it up. Unroll the dough over a 10-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the pan, lifting the edges and pressing the dough into the corners with your fingers.

To remove the excess dough, roll the rolling pin lightly over the top of the pan for a nice clean edge.

Chill for 1 hour.

Yield: Enough for two (10-inch) tarts. For this recipe, wrap one and freeze it.

For the tart:

Preheat the oven to 375.

Line the tart pan with the pate sucree. Prick the bottom with a fork, and line it with a few opened and fanned-out coffee filters or a piece of parchment paper. Fill the lined tart shell with beans or pie weights and bake 15 minutes, until set. Take the tart out of the oven and carefully lift out the paper and the beans. Return the tart to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is an even golden brown. Set aside on a rack to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Spread the chocolate evenly on the crust, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has solidified completely.

While the crust is chilling, make the curd. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice together in a heavy-bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, alternating between a whisk and a rubber spatula until the lemon curd has thickened to a consistency of pastry cream and coats the back of the spatula.

Remove the lemon curd from the heat. Add the butter a little at a time, stirring to incorporate completely. Season with the salt.

Let the curd cool about 8 minutes, then strain it into the prepared tart shell. Chill the tart in the refrigerator.

Yield: 8 servings.

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