One of my favorite monikers, penned by none other than Tom Wolfe, is the "Lemon Tart." In his book he explains "lemon tart" as:
women in their twenties or early thirties, mostly blondes (the Lemon in the Tarts), who were the second, third, and fourth wives or live-in girlfriends of men over forty or fifty or sixty (or seventy), the sort of women men refer to, quite without thinking, as girls. (excerpt from Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe)
Suffice it to say you'd find quite a few Lemon Tarts in Los Angeles. But my personal favorite comes in slightly different form from a different book. A recipe book. Just as glamorous as modern day LA Lemon Tarts, yet not as young. Entitled California Cooking ~ Parties, Picnics, and Celebrations, this book has the most amazing recipe for lemon tart that I've seen in a long time.
While living in the blustery below-freezing temperatures of Chicago I came across this cookbook at my mother-in-law's home, from which she had made the lemon tart. The tart was great. The book was divine. Entitled California Cooking ~ Parties, Picnics, and Celebrations, within its pages were all the reasons I needed to head west. Photo spreads of sailing jaunts along the Pacific coast , Grand Course picnics in Monterey, lunch by the pool in Rancho Mirage, and afternoon tea in San Francisco, all of which included great recipes and aspirational lifestyle longing.
Having lived in Southern California now for over 10 years I still have many of these experiences and places on my bucket list. But at least I can boast a lemon tart made with real California lemons, using the recipe within this fabulous, inspiring California cookbook.
The Lemon in the Tart Part
The full recipe can be found in the book itself. For this blog post, here is the lemon filling part. I suggest using the crust recipe below from Epicurious.
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Grated rind of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
To make the filling, whip the egg yolks and sugar to form a ribbon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cornstarch, lemon rind, and lemon juice and mix until smooth. Pour into the cooled tart shell and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. If the edges become too brown, tent the tart with aluminum foil. Let cool to room temperature.
My little twist on the tart crust: Being a Girl Scout leader and all, I used Girl Scout Trefoil cookies to form the basis of the crust, using the crust recipe found for a lemon cheesecake at Epicurious.com.