Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Lemon Chess Tart

Lemon Chess Tart

If you’re looking for a terrific way to welcome the summer solstice, this is it. A glorious lemon chess tart – buttery and lemony with a delicate pastry crust – hello sunshine!

Made with four common ingredients – eggs, a bit of flour, butter and sugar – chess pies have been a Southern staple for generations. There are so many variations on chess pie, from plain to coconut to pineapple. But lemon was one of my Grandmother’s favorites and I have to agree with her taste. Many recipes also included cornmeal or nut meal, made from nuts ground with a bit of sugar. And to pair with lemon, almonds are just the right accent for this refreshing citrus filling.

With every good pie or tart, the crust is half the story. This crust is a subtle twist on a basic piecrust. Made with egg yolks and a touch of sugar – it is tender, crisp and flaky – a delectable vessel for the wonderful lemon chess goodness.

It doesn’t roll out as neatly as our favorite basic pastry dough but it’s very forgiving. So if you have a crack or tear along the way, just patch it and keep moving!

Bake the tart on a rimmed baking sheet for easier cleanup. There is a bit of butter in this tart and as any good Southern cook would tell you –“there’s no such thing as too much butter”! This recipe makes enough for two small tarts (I make an 8” and a 10” tart) or a large, 11” tart. You can also make a traditional 9” pie; just add about 10 minutes to the final baking time for the filling to set.

Lemon chess tarts are wonderful served warm or at room temperature, plain or with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. And maybe a twist of lemon and a side of whipped cream!

Lemon Chess Tart

For the crust:

2-1/2 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup well-chilled butter, cut into small cubes

2 extra-large egg yolks, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons ice water

Place the flour and the sugar in the bowl of a food processer and pulse 3 to 4 times to blend.

Scatter the cubes of butter across the flour and pulse about 8 to 10 times or until the butter looks likes coarse meal.

It’s fine if there are larger bits of butter still in the flour.

Add the beaten egg yolks and begin processing, pouring the water through the feed tube. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds or just until the dough starts to hold together. The dough will still be crumbly but should hold when you press it together.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and using the edges of the paper, bring the dough together into a disc.

Wrap it in the parchment paper and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you’re making two small tarts, divide the dough in half, gently shape each into a disc, wrap and refrigerate. When you’re ready to bake the tarts, place the dough on a surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll it to fit your tart pan, with about 1” to 2” of overhang. Don’t worry if there are tears or cracks; just gently patch them.

Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin then gently unroll it into a fluted tart pan that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (Preferably use a tart pan with a removable bottom.)

Ease the dough into the tart pan and lightly press into the fluted edges, taking care not to stretch the dough. Trim off any excess dough.

Chill for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling.

For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs

1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

½ cup lemon juice, about 3 to 4 lemons

1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 4 lemons

1-1/2 cups butter, 3 sticks – melted and cooled

1 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Beat the eggs on medium speed with 1-1/2 cups of the sugar until the eggs are very pale in color and thick, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest and the melted butter and mix into the eggs.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the flour.

Process until the almonds are finely ground, about 20 to 30 seconds.

Add the ground almonds to the egg mixture along with the vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk to blend together.

Pour the filling in the unbaked pastry shell. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet – this makes for easier cleanup and prevents a mess in your oven!

Bake at 375-degrees for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350-degrees and continue baking for an additional 15 to 18 minutes, or until the filling is set. If the top of the tart starts to brown too much, tent it with a sheet of foil over the top.

Cool on wire racks. Dust with powdered sugar.

Lemon Chess Tart, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

June 22, 2018
: Makes two 8

A glorious lemon chess tart – buttery and lemony with a delicate pastry crust!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup well-chilled butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • For the filling:
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ½ cup lemon juice, about 3 to 4 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 4 lemons
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, 3 sticks – melted and cooled
  • 1 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the crust:
  • Step 2 Place the flour and the sugar in the bowl of a food processer and pulse 3 to 4 times to blend.
  • Step 3 Scatter the cubes of butter across the flour and pulse about 8 to 10 times or until the butter looks likes coarse meal. It’s fine if there are larger bits of butter still in the flour.
  • Step 4 Add the beaten egg yolks and begin processing, pouring the water through the feed tube. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds or just until the dough starts to hold together. The dough will still be crumbly but should hold when you press it together.
  • Step 5 Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and using the edges of the parchment paper, bring the dough together. Wrap it in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you’re making two small tarts, divide the dough in half, gently shape each into a disc, wrap and refrigerate.
  • Step 6 When you’re ready to bake the tarts, place the dough on a surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Roll it to fit your tart pan, with about 1” to 2” of overhang. Don’t worry if there are tears or cracks
  • Step 7 just gently patch them.
  • Step 8 Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin then gently unroll it into a fluted tart pan* that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (*Preferably use a tart pan with a removable bottom.)
  • Step 9 Ease the dough into the tart pan and press into the fluted edges, taking care not to stretch the dough. Trim off any excess dough.
  • Step 10 Chill for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
  • Step 11 To make the filling:
  • Step 12 Beat the eggs on medium speed with 1-1/2 cups of the sugar until the eggs are very pale in color and thick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest and the melted butter
  • Step 13 mix into the eggs.
  • Step 14 Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the flour. Process until the almonds are finely ground, about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Step 15 Add the ground almonds to the egg mixture along with the vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk to blend together.
  • Step 16 To bake:
  • Step 17 Pour the filling in the unbaked pastry shell. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet – this makes for easier cleanup and prevents a mess in your oven. Bake at 375-degrees for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350-degrees and continue baking for an additional 15 to 18 minutes, or until the filling is set. If the top of the tart starts to brown too much, tent it with a sheet of foil over the top.
  • Step 18 Cool on wire racks. Dust with powdered sugar.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to Preserving Good Stock’s weekly newsletter and never miss a recipe!