Thursday, April 10, 2014

lemon & honey tart with salted shortbread crust

Two of my favorite food magazines are bon appetit and Cooks Illustrated. Have you heard of them? Both boast incredible, inspiring photos, delicious recipes, and if you're interested in how to make fool-proof, amazing dishes and desserts then Cook's Illustrated is your magazine.

I have several years of back issues . . . and I refer to them often. They fill many baskets throughout our home.

While glancing through the January 2013 issue of bon appetit I came across this gorgeous photo of a lemon honey tart with salted shortbread crust. Oh. my goodness. Isn't it beautiful!?!


I was completely drawn in by the slices of lemon suspended in the tart. The recipe revealed that these beautiful slices were from Meyer lemons. Have you ever baked with them? They remind me of a cross between a lemon and a mandarin . . . and can sometimes be slightly orange. Meyer lemons have a sweeter, more floral taste than regular lemons, making them great additions as fruit rather than just juice . . . and for adding lemon flavor without the mouth-puckering sourness of other lemons.

Bon appetit knew what they were doing when they paired Meyer lemons and honey, given that both have floral undertones . . . and compliment one another. Add a slightly salted shortbread crust and you have a perfect combination of sweet and salty. The lemon slices add a hint of zing, which rounds out this tart beautifully.

This recipe is very similar to making lemon bars, except that there's one more step. You'll make a honey and sugar mixture for the lemon slices to soak in, in advance.  This is an important step, as it softens the slices and tames any traces of bitterness.

Wouldn't it be gorgeous for an Easter brunch, a shower, tea party, or a Summer dessert?

It will certainly be the Bell of the Ball on our Easter brunch table!

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup powdered sugar

FILLING & Assembly
1 LARGE Meyer lemon, if possible (a larger Meyer will yield more slices, which makes for a prettier tart)
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 10 Meyer lemons)
Coat spring form pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Place butter and powdered sugar in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is smooth. Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse until mixture resembles medium-size pebbles (dough will not come together completely). Transfer dough to prepared pan. Using your fingers, press dough evenly onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of pan.
DO AHEAD: Crust can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

FILLING & Assembly
Using a mandolin, slice Meyer lemon into paper-thin rounds. If you don't have a mandolin, then use a small serrated knife and cut very THIN slices. Remove seeds. 
Using a whisk, mix the sugar, honey, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add lemon slices and using a spoon, GENTLY toss to coat. Let sit until lemon is softened and sugar is dissolved, 60 minutes.
DO AHEAD: Lemon slice mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Place rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 325°. Bake crust until center is firm to the touch and edges are beginning to turn golden brown, 30-35 minutes.

When crust is almost done baking, whisk eggs and egg yolks in a medium bowl to blend. 
Whisk flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl; add to egg mixture and whisk to combine. 
Whisk in lemon juice. Add lemon slice mixture; mix GENTLY to combine.

Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Pour filling into hot crust. Using a fork, move the lemon slices around so that there is even coverage. 

Bake until filling is set and slightly puffed around edges, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely. Chill for at least 4 hours, then unmold. Serve cold.

DO AHEAD: Tart can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

**I've read many reviews that this tart does not work with regular lemons, only Meyer lemons. Regular lemons are too tart and bitter.


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  1. This is just amazing; a work of art! Yummy wish I could try a slice......
    Blessings, Roxy

  2. Your photos are beautiful! And the tart looks yum, we have a Meyer lemon tree, I might just make this for Easter. Have a great weekend! ~Lorraine ♥♥♥

  3. this looks so wonderful. Your photos are just great. I'd so love a bite of this...who am I kidding? I'd probably eat the whole thing in one sitting. What kind of camera do you use? Your photos are always so good. I really need to buy a new camera. I've just been getting by for ages.

  4. Anonymous8:04 AM

    This looks lovely and sounds so delicious. I love the sound of the salted crust! Visiting from Show-Lucious Link Party.

  5. Oh, this is a stunning dessert. I was wondering what Meyer lemons were like. Thank you for your kind comments about my Easter Collage. I am enjoying your blog! I will post you in my sidebar so I don't miss a post.

  6. This is so pretty! Almost too pretty to eat! But I DO love lemon desserts! Thank you for linking up with Snickerdoodle Sunday! I hope you don't get too tired of me saying this, but you're photography is gorgeous! Sigh.... will you put together a tutorial? :)

  7. This is sooo pretty and now my tummy is rumbling!

  8. This looks so delicious!! Thanks so much for linking up with us. Have a fabulous week!

  9. Wow - that tart looks amazing!! Oh, I will have to try it sometime - you are correct, it will always be the star of any table on which it rests!! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Anonymous9:32 PM

    I was going to pin this, but I will put it on Google+ instead. That's what you prefer, right?

  11. Ooo... that looks yummy! Thanks so much for sharing your creativity with us at Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Hope to see you again next week!

    ~ Ashley

  12. That's one pretty dessert and I will make it soon.

  13. Stopping by from Create It Thur Party. Beautiful dish and awesome pictures. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  14. This is so pretty! I am really impressed by the design. It looks tasty too. Thanks for sharing with us on Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  15. Oh this is so pretty Suzanne and I bet it is delicious! Love anything lemon. Thanks for sharing it with SYC. Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

  16. Oh my goodness, that looks good! We have a Meyer Lemon tree in our yard that is loaded with baby lemons, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we get a bumper crop!

  17. This has my mouth watering! I wanted you to know that I will be featuring it at my What We Accomplished Wednesday party tonight.
    Blessings, Deborah

  18. Hi Suzanne, congrats on your feature at Green Willow Pond!! This tart looks delicious!! Your pictures are gorgeous!! Have a wonderful day!

  19. Oh, this is so beautiful! I love those bright yellow lemons :)

    Amy | Club Narwhal

  20. Great recipes from two of my favorite magazines. I've gotten into Fine Cooking lately too... a lot of healthy and seasonal recipes. Thanks for bringing this by foodie friday... really gorgeous. Nice pictures.

  21. Another beautiful dish! Thanks for sharing with Tasty Tuesday!

  22. Gorgeous. I'm definitely pinning this! I'm visiting from Tasty Tuesday.

  23. This sounds divine! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  24. Thank you for this delicious recipe Suzanne!
    As soon as I read the words 'salted shortbread crust' I was hooked!
    We have a Meyer lemon tree in our garden and I agree they are a lovely lemon.
    I make several nice lemon flavored dishes - they have all become family favorites!
    You have many delicious looking recipes on your side bar that I will come back to for a read later!
    I’m visiting from Penny's Tasty Tuesday which I linked to for the first time this week only to find this was the last one.... I'm not a fan of those other huge blog parties!
    You’ve created a lovely blog Suzanne.

  25. Wow... what a perfect Spring recipe! I'm putting this one on my must-try-list! I'm featuring your lemon tart in my Friday Features tomorrow from this week's Inspire Me Monday party. Thanks for linking up!

  26. Your tart is gorgeous! I'd love to try making this one, especially for a brunch get-together. Meyer lemons are one of my favorites, love to use them in cakes. Thanks for sharing, your post will be featured in tonight's What'd You Do This Weekend linkup! Pinning :-)

    Ashley @

  27. I have everything for this! I am going to try this! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  28. Wow! This lemon tart looks absolutely perfect! Thank so much for sharing at my Creative Ways Link Party!

  29. Anonymous3:06 AM

    Hmm I could eat a slice of the right now. This has been the most viewed recipe over at Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by grab a button and link up with us. Have a great weekend Suzanne :) Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  30. Anonymous4:19 PM

    What an incredible tart! Looks delicious!

  31. This look gorgeous and delicious. Pinned. Thank you! ~Heather @ My Overflowing Cup


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