A Tart Tart

I love Spring, but I hate saying goodbye to one of my favorite flavors: the Meyer lemon.

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Its season runs through April. I feel like The Fresh Market could sense my sadness, because the store put the luscious lemon on sale in the last week or so.

When it comes down to it, the lemon, any variety of it, is one of my favorite treats. It’s bright in color and flavor. It can liven up anything. I mean, look what it does to a boring glass of water!

In the dessert department the lemon is a superstar. The citrus sparkle offsets the barrage of sugar.

The sweet treat can be a fattening slice of sin, but when it includes lemon, it takes on a certain light, airy, guilt-reducing disguise.

And let me tell you, when I crave a lemon dessert, I won’t stop until I curb that craving. So I introduce you to my super easy no-bake lemon tart.

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I use the term “no bake” loosely here, because I made the crust from scratch, and it had to visit the oven. You can totally use a store-bought crust and make it a true, no-bake dessert.

My crust is spiced. A lot of zest gives the filling a good zing. And the Meyer lemon makes for a delicate, yet pucker-inducing, bite. If you can’t find the Meyer lemon, use the regular one. I’ll often find them at The Fresh Market past their season.

The filling has 3 ingredients!

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Here’s how I did mine:

Crust:
22 good ginger snaps
22 Nilla wafers
1 tsp ground cardamom (floral Indian spice)
1 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
4 Meyer lemons, zested & juiced
1 regular lemon, zested & juiced
1 14 oz can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz tub 1/3 fat cream cheese, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put all the cookies in a food processor and pulverize. They should be dust.

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In a bowl, combine the melted butter, the sugar, cardamom and cookie dust. Mix to form a sandy consistency.

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Grease your tart pan or pie dish, and push the cookie sand into the container. Flatter the bottom. And feed the crust up the sides.

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Bake for 10 minutes. Cook completely.

In a bowl, combine the zest, juice, condensed milk, and cream cheese. Now lean in close. I have a secret to tell you. I added some yellow dye gel to the filling. Don’t hate me. Please.

Use a hand mixer to whip the ingredients until they’re combined, and silky smooth.

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Pour the filling into the cooled crust, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It needs this time to set-up perfectly.

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Serve a slice on a plate drizzled with chocolate syrup. Top the tart with fresh whipped cream.

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I think my tongue just did the Lambada.

The crust is crunchy and comforting. The ginger is spicy, the cardamom is floral like the Meyer lemon, and the Nilla wafers help pay tribute to the subtle, and kinda boring, traditional crust.

The filling is creamy, smooth, and bright like a Summer sunrise. I love seeing the specs of zest. The zest is key to creating that true lemon flavor, and that’s because of the oils in the peel.

I used one regular lemon just to add that true, puckering perk that only the real deal can provide. The Meyer lemon makes this tart somewhat sweet, and almost orangey, but still invigorating.

I love that this isn’t a big, thick, meringue-masked sugar bomb. And I appreciate that it’s not a gelatinous, goopy, solidified syrup. And did I mention that it’s easy?

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Pucker up and kiss the Meyer lemon goodbye, or welcome Spring and Summer with this citrusy smooch!

Tip: Invest in a tart pan with a removable bottom. A while ago, I bought a ceramic one that was on sale. Yes, it was cheap, but I paid up later by trying to wiggle put a piece of the treat without breaking it. Look at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. You’ll find a good deal on a pan there. I just saw one for $7.99!

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