For the Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup finely ground pecans (optional)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel, OR 1/8 tsp. lemon oil
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz/113g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the Filling:
5 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons (3 ounces) fresh lemon juice (approximately 4 average size lemons)
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel OR 1/8 tsp. lemon oil
For the Topping: (optional)
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
Fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, or any type of berries of your choice
Lemon Peel, cut into 3-4 thin strips
To Make Crust:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C. Prepare a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom by lightly spraying with cooking oil spray.
Mix flour, sugar, ground pecans, and lemon peel (or lemon oil, if using) in food processor. Add butter. Cut in using on/off turns until mixture forms moist clumps.
Press dough onto bottom and up sides of prepared tart pan. Pierce crust all over with fork. Freeze 15 minutes. Bake crust at 425 degrees F/220 degrees C (400 degrees F/200 degrees C if using dark colored or non-stick pan) until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer crust to rack and let cool.
Turn oven down to 350 degrees F/180 C (325 degrees F/160 degrees C if using dark colored or non-stick pan).
To Make Lemon Filling:
Beat cream cheese in food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice, and grated lemon peel (or lemon oil, if using) and beat until well blended. Pour filling into crust and bake at 350 degrees F/180 degrees C, for about 30 minutes. Transfer tart to rack and cool. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
To Make Topping: (topping is optional)
Put bowl and beaters in freezer for 15 minutes. Beat cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to pastry bag fitted with star tip. Pipe cream around edge of tart. Refrigerate.
Before serving, decoratively garnish with berries (optional) or dust top with confectioners' sugar. Store in refrigerator.
Slice 3 or 4 thin strips of lemon peel (about 1/8 inch wide and about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long), and use as a simple garnish for the center of tart.
Makes 8 servings.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2002
Date: August 28, 2002