A very tart tart with a cookie crust, this is a refreshing, sophisticated finale for a rich meal, especially welcome on sultry summer evenings. We like to serve this bright lemon tart on a cobalt blue plate.
11/2 cups unbleached white flour
7 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 lemon, sliced in very thin rounds
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs, well beaten
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the flour with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your finger tips.
Mix in the salt, vanilla, and sugar, and then just enough ice water to bind.
Press the dough with your fingers into a 9- or 10-inch drop-bottom tart pan. Chill the crust 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Line the chilled crust with waxed paper and fill with dried beans or rice to prevent the crust from buckling during baking.
Bake at 425° for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the beans and waxed paper.
Lower the oven temperature to 350°.
Mix together the juice of 4 lemons, the butter, and the sugar and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is just warm.
Pour the beaten eggs slowly into this mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
Continue to stir on low heat until the mixture thickens into a custard.
Stir in the vanilla. Pour into the baked crust and bake for 35 to 50 minutes or until the custard sets and the top becomes golden.
Serve chilled and garnished with thinly sliced rounds of lemon.