Citrus Tart

July 5, 2013

Our intern’s final day at work was last Friday, and when I asked her what her favorite dessert was, she said pie. But when I looked through my cookbooks, none of the pie recipes jumped out at me. I was hoping to find a recipe I could make without having to go to the grocery store again. But either I didn’t have the ingredients on hand, or the recipes were too involved, or they had ingredients that some of my coworkers are allergic to/don’t like. So I expanded my cookbook browsing to include tarts because tarts are kind of like pies, right? :)

I found this citrus tart in Gourmet Today and it looked fairly straightforward: blind-baked crust, custard filling. The amount of sugar called for (1½ cups) seemed pretty high, and when I looked up reviews on epicurious, many of the reviewers said it was too sweet as written and recommended cutting the sugar down. Since I don’t like desserts that are overly sweet, I reduced the sugar to ¾ cup, and I’m glad I did. The tart was still very sweet even with this amount. But it had very good flavor; the sweetness didn’t overpower the lemon and orange. It’s not going on my make-again-right-away list because lemon isn’t my favorite dessert flavor, but if someone requests a citrus dessert from me, this would be a tasty choice!

Citrus tart

Dough can be chilled and fitted into tart pan (but not baked) 1 day ahead. Filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using. Tart can be baked 3 hours ahead and cooled completely, then kept at room temperature.

Serves 6


Tart shell

  • 1  large egg, separated
  • 1  tablespoon milk
  • 1¼  cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4  teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt
  • 1  stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes


  • 4  large eggs
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • 2  teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1½  teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2  cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2  cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  cup heavy cream


  1. Make tart shell: Lightly beat yolk with milk in a small bowl (reserve white for egg wash). Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add yolk mixture and pulse just until dough begins to gather into a ball. Press dough into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.
  2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out, about 20 minutes. Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round. Discard top sheet and invert dough into tart pan (discard remaining plastic wrap). Fit dough into pan, pushing edge of dough to 1/8 inch above rim. Trim dough and save scraps to repair any cracks in partially baked shell. Freeze shell until firm, about 10 minutes. Line shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights.
  3. Bake until edge is golden and bottom is set, about 20 minutes, then carefully remove pie weights and parchment (or foil; gently prick any bubbles with a fork to release air) and bake until bottom is pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Quickly repair any cracks in shell with scraps, then immediately brush hot pastry all over with some egg white. Leave oven on.
  4. Make filling and bake tart: Whisk together all filling ingredients until combined well. Put tart shell (in tart pan) on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Carefully pour filling into shell and put a pie shield or foil strips over rim of pastry to prevent burning.
  5. Bake tart until filling is barely set but trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 45 minutes. (Filling will continue to set as it cools.)

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