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Sometimes you want a break from chocolate. This refreshing, tangy, and just-sweet-enough lemon tart with pistachio cardamom crust is the antidote.
Plus, it makes a stunning presentation.
Lemon tart is a seasonal chameleon. Serve it in the summer – people think you are right on the hot-weather trend. But surprisingly, citrus fruits are actually in season in winter, so it’s perfect for a holiday dessert. And anything in a tart pan is immediately more upscale than a square or rectangle.
There’s just a hint of cardamom and pistachio in the crust.
Which somehow “lifts” the rich, buttery, nutty flavor. You won’t be disappointed.
The homemade candied lemon peel garnish takes a day or two to dry, but if you make the dessert and candied lemon peel at night, it will be fine to serve the next day. I’ve made this lemon tart 2 days ahead and left it out at room temperature. It still got rave reviews … even from the chocolate lovers in the group.
Lemon Tart with Pistachio Cardamom Crust
Pistachio Cardamom Crust
- 1 c shelled pistachios (120 grams)
- 1 sleeve Graham crackers 8 crackers
- 1/c c sugar (62 grams)
- 6 - 7 T melted butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom optional
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Lemon Tart Filling
- 1 1/2 c sugar (302 grams)
- 3 large room temperature eggs
- 2 T lemon zest (6 grams, zest from 2 large lemons)
- 1/2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice about 4 lemons
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour (64 grams)
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp almond extract optional
Candied Lemon (Citrus) Peel
- 2 - 4 lemons or the peel from any 2 - 4 citrus fruits
- 2 c sugar for making the syrup
- 1 c water for making the syrup
- 1 - 2 c water for boiling the peels
- 1 +/- c sugar for coating the peels
- candied Lemon Peel optional
- fresh lemon slices optional
- powdered sugar optional
- a few fresh mint leaves optional
Pistachio Cardamom Crust
- Adjust middle rack to center position and preheat the oven to 350.
- Gently melt 6 - 7 T butter on the stove-top or in the microwave.
- Cut a circle of parchment paper the size of the removable bottom and line the bottom of the pan. Brush a small amount of melted butter on the sides and bottom of an 11-inch tart pan. Get the butter into all the fluted edges. Put in the parchment paper disc and brush with melted. This will make it easier to slide the tart off the bottom of the pan.
- Blitz the shelled pistachios, Graham crackers, sugar, ground cardamom, and salt in a food processor until the ingredients become fine crumbs.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in 6 - 7 T melted butter. The mixture should adhere to itself when pressed. If it does not, add a little more melted butter.
- Dump the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared 11-inch tart pan and using the flat bottom of a cup, press it evenly into the pan and up the sides. Press hard.
- Bake the crust 8 - 12 minutes.
- Put a flat baking sheet in the oven and let it preheat while you prepare the lemon filling. The lemon tart will bake on the already hot baking sheet. This method helps to keep the bottom crust crisp.
Lemon Tart Filling
- Whisk the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, salt, and almond extract together in a bowl until smooth.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked shell and bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow the tart to cool completely (1 - 2 hours) before garnishing.
- Place the cooled tart pan on a large can and gently slide off the ring. Slide the tart off the bottom disc.
- Put some powdered sugar in a small wire mesh strainer, hold it high above the completely cooled tart and gently tap the sides. Put 3 lemon slices in the middle and sprinkle the candied lemon peel around the perimeter. If you have some fresh mint, throw a few leaves in the middle. (I only had fresh parsley, so that's what's in the photograph.)
Candied Lemon (Any Citrus Fruit) Peel
- Slice the peel off the fruit, trying to get just the peel and very little of the white pith. Lay the peel pith side down and thinly slice into uniform strips.
- Boil the strips of peel in water 15 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the peel in a strainer.
- Dissolve 2 cups sugar in 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the peel and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Put a cup or so of sugar in a wide, flat bowl or plate. Use a slotted spoon and pick up a few peels. Let the syrup drip off. Place the peels in the sugar. Use a fork and toss them around to completely coat with sugar.
- Remove the peels to a wire rack and let dry 1 - 2 days.
- Store in an airtight container. They keep for about a month at room temperature and up to 2 - 3 months in the freezer.
- Don't discard the syrup from the boiled peels. Store this in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use to flavor tea, booze, cakes ...