So, you know it's a sad day when you get a call and the glorious lemon tart with a coconut crust you made the day before was idiotically left on the counter sans couverture and devoured by a resident ant colony. I can only picture what a happy death those ants must have experienced swimming into the perfectly baked (set but not gelatinous) smooth and creamy lemon filling. It was so good, damn it! I was so proud of myself for not over-baking it, too. It had a really simple crust made of only three things - coconut, sugar and egg whites – that spared me a lot of time in preparing the tart and tasted great, too.
I have somehow shed my sadness over this tart-loss and have vowed to bake again. At some point, anyway.
Top this tart with sliced strawberries or fresh blueberries for a delicious fruit tart, or leave it simply lemon fabulous. Or use tiny tartlet pans for individual servings! Lemon Tart with a Coconut Crust
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained (about 5-6 lemons)
2 Tbsp lemon zest (about 3 lemons) pinch of salt 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed First, zest 3 lemons and set the zest aside. Juice those lemons first and then 3 others. This is the most time consuming part. Set up a small mesh strainer over a large glass measuring cup and squeeze, using a fork or a fancier tool to help.
Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Add the bits of butter and whisk over medium low heat constantly for about 7-10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.
Cook until thickened and mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer and set aside. Coconut Crust:
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites
Place the coconut and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the coconut is very fine. Add the egg whites and process until thoroughly incorporated. The mixture will be wet and sticky. Using wet fingers, press the coconut evenly on the bottom and sides of a well greased tart pan, or 8 individual tartlet pans. Bake at 325 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until golden. Half way through baking, press the crust down with the back of a spoon as the egg whites tend to puff up.
Remove the crust from the oven when golden, and pour in the lemon filling. Return to the 325 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes. Cook until set but not completely. The filling should still shake easily (not wobble like jello) when it's done. Cool completely to serve.
If using small tartlet pans, remove the crust from the pans after baking. Cool them 10 minutes, but remove them while still warm. Place back on a baking sheet and then pour in the lemon filling. This crust becomes quite sticky, so removing them after they're completely cooled would be tricky. However, since I made a large tart, I didn't trust myself to remove the whole thing nicely from the pan, so I just kept it in - up to you.