This traditional lemon tart is tangy and sweet all at the same time, just like a lemon meringue pie. It’s such a light lemony dessert, paired perfectly with Twinnings Earl Grey tea.
Fun fact about me: I’m a proud American, but believe in a past life I was a full-fledged British citizen. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for my
obsession love of everything Royal (confession: I took a personal day from work to watch the 2011 royal wedding at 6am – gah!), British historical fiction novels, castles, the accent, afternoon tea and television shows, like Downton Abbey.
That brings me to this darling Downton Abbey Lemon Tart. I can’t tell you how, or why, or my sources … however, I had access to watch Season 4, Episode 1 of Downton Abbey. Why is that so scandalous? Well, it’s not available in the USA yet! Mwahaha.
This was my very first tart, and very first pie crust! Because I didn’t have the heavy cream the crust recipe called for, I used milk. That may be the reason why the dough kept breaking on me when transferring to the greased pan, nearly making the whole thing a disaster! So, lesson learned: use heavy cream next time!
That one issue aside, the dough was so easy to make. If you don’t have time to go to the grocery store to buy the store-bought variety, you most likely have all of the pie crust ingredients at home. I made the substitution of milk work for me, so you could, too, if you’re in that fix.
So, if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll love this recipe. Imagining you’re having afternoon tea with Lady Mary and Lady Edith as you gossip and dine on Mrs. Patmore’s tea sandwiches.
But if you’re not a fan, I promise you’ll still love this dainty dessert. I was surprised at how easy it was to make. All in all, if you had the crust ready to go, you could have this dessert fixed up within 45 minutes. How that’s for service!
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small chunks
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (note: I didn’t have this so I used 1 tablespoon of milk; the dough was a little hard to manage)
- Pad of butter (for greasing the pie pan)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- In a large bowl or using a stand-mixer, add the flour, sugar and butter.
- Add the egg yolk and cream/milk until the dough forms a ball.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.
- If you’re not using store bought crust, make the pie dough ahead of time and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a round removable-bottom pan with butter. Set aside.
- Lightly flour a smooth surface (your kitchen island or counter will do!). Roll out the chilled pie dough to roughly a 12-inch circle. Transfer to greased pie pan — use your thumb to make the squiggly pie crust design.
- Blind bake the crust by place parchment paper over it and then filling it with pie weights, dry beans — or in my case, a bundt pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then remove paper and your “weight.”
- While your crust is blind baking, whisk the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Once the crust is out of the oven, pour the filling into the partially baked crust.
- Bake (still using the baking sheet underneath) in the upper third of the oven until the crust is golden and filling is set. About 20 minutes.
- Cool the tart pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the tart from the pan.
- Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.