this tart has been forming in my mind for the last few months. actually since i made a delicious cranberry tart ive been low key obsessed with figuring out the best (read, easiest) way to make curd. its always been something intimidating for me. but, im here to tell you not to be afraid of the curd!!
between the cranberry tart and this lemon tart, there were *a few* failed attempts. mostly thanks to way too many curdled eggs (ugh, its just the most wasteful feeling to have to throw away food). while making this tart, i finally decided to try the bain marie method, aka, the double boiler method and i’ll never go back! seriously, this is by far the easiest method ive tried. after making this specific tart serval times, it was fail proof!! there’s definitely still a level of attentiveness that’s required, but because of the gentle/indirect heat, the chances of a curdled egg go way down.
so what makes up this most delicious tart? glad you asked!
- bergamot lemon curd- this lemon (or orange depending on the variety you come across) has a very distinctive taste and smell. its very bitter and reminiscent of earl grey (this gives the tea its trademark aroma). the inside is sweet and tart in the most delicious way. if you can find a bergamot lemon, this is a great dessert to try it in! the freshly squeezed juices from the lemon are combined with eggs, egg yolks, sugar and butter. that’s it! add some heat and about 15-ish minutes and you’ve got the most luscious, velvety curd.
- earl grey shortbread crust- i decided to make this a press in crust over a roll out crust. mostly because i seem to have the worst luck with keeping my pie crusts together! if you have a favorite crust recipe, feel free to use it in place of this one, just add 1-2 earl grey tea bags to get the flavor.
this tart has quickly become a new favorite. i hope you love it, too! –megs
a few tips…
- bergamot lemon- you can absolutely substitute regular lemons or meyer lemons. you’ll get a hint of the bergamot flavor from the earl grey tea
- earl grey tea- make sure this is fresh so the flavor shines through. the amount is really up to you. 1 bag gives a nice hint, 2 bags will be very strong.
- bain marie- this is the best way!
- sugar content- the sugar helps balance out the tartness of the lemons, while also providing structure. there’s one cup in the entire recipe, so while that is still a good amount, i would not advise using less as this will change the overall structure of the curd
- freeze/chill time- this helps set the crust and makes for a better structure overall. the final chill time should also be followed as this allows the whole tart to fully set
- make ahead- the curd can be made up to 3 days in advance. if you go this route, pour the curd into an airtight container and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble
bergamot lemon + earl grey tart
- 9″ removable bottom tart pan
- heat proof bowl
- mesh strainer
- parchment paper
- medium sauce pan
earl grey crust
- 1 1/2 c all purpose flour (180g)
- 1/2 c powdered sugar (40g)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 bags, earl grey tea
- zest from 1/2 bergamot lemon
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
bergamot lemon curd
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3/4 c caster or superfine sugar (165g)
- 3/4 c freshly squeezed bergamot lemon juice sub with any lemon
- zest from 1/2 bergamot lemon
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 F, line bottom of a tart pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease sides of the tart pan with butter. I use a pastry brush dipped in some of the melted butter. Combine all crust ingredients in a bowl, mixing until the dough comes together. Press into prepared tart, starting with the sides and working across the bottom to the center of the pan. Chill in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper, cut the 1″ larger than diameter of the tart pan. Line with pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until ready to be filled with the curd. Reduce heat to 325F.
- In a seperate, heat proof bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Once combined, whisk in lemon juice and zest. Take the entire bowl and place on top of a pot filled with 1″ of water. Using a bain marie, or double boiler method, heat curd mixture over medium- high heat, stirring frequently to ensure the eggs don’t curdle. Continue to stir until the curd forms into a thick, almost pudding like consistency (about 10-20 minutes). The curd should fully coat the back of a spatula or spoon without running off.
- As soon as the mixture thickens, add the cubes of butter. Stir quickly to fully combine/melt the butter into the curd. Press through mesh strainer, into another bowl, container or directly into the prepared crust. Return filled crust to the oven. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes, or until the curd sets with a slight giggle. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack to room temperature, about an hour. Chill the tart in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Top with powdered sugar right before serving. Other suggested toppings: candied lemon slices, whipped cream or italian meringue (using the lefover egg whites)
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