Lazy Mary’s Citrus Tart
If I find the word ‘lazy’ in the title of a recipe, it’s just… I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, a recipe that couples my deep love for pie with my deep appreciation for sitting on my porch, sipping drinks, and talking trash. You mean I can have both homemade pie and lazy trash-talking all in one sweet situation!?
Well… yes, and also NO. You can have your pie (tart), but like any good pie, you’re going to have to work for it.
Yea. We can talk about it. I’m going to make us.
First, let’s talk about citrus!
The original recipe for this lazy / not-so-lazy tart calls for a Meyer Lemon. A whole Meyer Lemon. Peel, pith, insides. The whole shebang.
Meyer Lemons are all well and good, and you should totally use a big juicy one for this recipe. I happen to live inside this mess of citrus in The French Quarter and wanted to find a way to incorporate this crazy citrus into my tart.
These are calamondins! New fruit from my new city. Tiny, very tart, thin-skinned, lightly seeded citrus fruits. I halved these, scooped out the sneaky seeds, and added them to a blender for the pie filling.
This recipe (originally from this month’s Food and Wine Magazine featuring Food52!!!) is one part lazy, one part (what’s the opposite of lazy?) NOTlazy.
The tart crust uses both vegetable shortening and butter. I usually use an all-butter crust, but wanted to stay true to the recipe and experiment with a combination of fats. Vegetable shortening adds a crispness and stability to the tart crust.
Pro tip: This tart crust is most successful if the vegetable shortening is chilled before incorporating into the crust.
See? Already making you work. Chilling vegetable shortening any all.
The dough comes together by hand or in a food processor and is left to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The resting time is essential. Non-negotiable.
After being rolled out… we’ve still got some crust issues to contend with.
The crust needs to be pricked with the tines of a fork (so it doesn’t puff up during pre-baking), and frozen before being par-baked.
Yea… this sure is the opposite of lazy, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing: each step is important.
Resting the tart crust: helps distribute the moisture throughout the dough and allows the fats to rechill and harden.
Pricking the tart crust: allows air to escape and keeps the crust from bubbling up during par-baking.
Freezing the crust before parbaking: keeps the crust firm and stops it from shrinking down the sides of the pan during parbaking. Key!
Rested. Rolled. Pricked. Frozen.
Now you’ll need a lightly greased piece of foil, and dried baking beans or pie weights.
Yea. That wasn’t lazy like, AT ALL. Right?
Here’s the part where we get to kick back a bit. Finally. It’s with the filling.
You’ll need a blender and the ability to dump everything into it: a softened stick of butter, eggs, whole calamondins, and sugar.
The filling is poured into the warm, golden brown, par-baked crust and mooooore baking!
The crust is substantial and flakey. The filling is sweet and citrus. It’s lovely living!
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 large Meyer lemon, chopped (I used 5 calamondins)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- powdered sugar, for garnish
- To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment combine flour, powdered sugar, salt, cubed shortening, and cubed butter.
- Pulse in the food processor until the fats are blended in. Some of the fat bits will be the size of oat flakes, other will be the size of small peas. Continue to pulse and slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of water. The dough will come together but still be a bit shaggy. I added just 1/4 cup of water. If your dough is a bit dry, add the additional 2 tablespoons of water.
- Place on a lightly floured work surface and knead together in a 1-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Once chilled remove from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a roughly 14-inch circle between 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch thick.
- Ease the dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. The filling is enough to fill a 2-inch tall fluted tart pan. If your tart pan is only 1-inch tall, you'll have some filling left over.
- Lightly press the dough into the pan and trim the overhang. Prick the dough with the tines of a fork and freeze for 1 hour. (Here's the thing with freezing the dough, this step is essential and will keep the tart shell from shrinking when it is pre-baked.)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line the frozen tart crust with parchment paper and place in dried baking beans or pie weights. Bake for 25 minutes until the edges are lightly golden brown. Remove the paper and beans or weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- In a blender, combine meyer lemon chunks, sugar, softened butter, vanilla, and eggs. Puree for 2 minutes or until smooth and emulsified.
- Pour the mixture into the tart shell.
- Bake for 40 minutes (for the 2-inch deep tart), or 30 minutes (for the 1-inch deep tart). Gently shake the tart to test the doneness. If the center of the tart still shakes in waves, the tart needs more time in the oven.
- Allow the tart to rest for 3 hours before slicing and serving.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Tart will last up to four days, well wrapped in the refrigerator.