Adapted from Macrina Bakery's "Recipe of the Month" for March, this recipe is a variation of a Lemon Chess Tart. Its rich flavor balances well with the tartness of lemons and a sweet, crisp almond crust.
Prepare all of the tart filling ingredients and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while you make the crust.
Beat the butter in a mixer on low until softened.
Sift in the powdered sugar, and then add the ground almonds and salt. Mix until fully incorporated.
Beat in the egg and vanilla paste, followed by the plain flour. Gather into a ball and cover in plastic wrap.
Flatten into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Roll out the chilled crust dough to the thickness of a quarter. Place the pastry in the tart pan, pressing into and up the sides, slightly above the edge of the pan.
Press extra dough into the sides to stabilize them. Remove extra crust from around the pan and bake on a sheet pan for a bonus treat.
Prick the base with a fork and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake in the center of the oven until just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool.
Drop the temperature of the oven to 325 degrees. Sift sugar, cornmeal and flour into a large bowl.
Crack the eggs and beat into the sugar mixture one at a time. Beat in the remaining ingredients, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding another.
Place your baked tart crust on a rimmed baking sheet and set on the oven rack. Pour the filling into the shell, just until it almost reaches the top.
Slide the sheet into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the center is set and the surface is golden brown. Check the tart after the first 15 minutes of baking to make sure it is browning evenly.
Let the tart cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.
In the bowl of a mixer, whip the egg whites. As you whip, add in the cream of tartar and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
When soft peaks form, add the remaining granulated sugar. Whip until you reach stiff peaks.
Remove from mixer and fold in powdered sugar with a rubber spatula. Spread on top of the tart and brown using the broiler setting of your oven.
We enjoyed our lemon tart with sweetened whipped cream. Just combine 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Whip until the cream holds its shape. Enjoy!