This lemon basil tart recipe is adapted from the Very Lemon Tart from the New Basics Cookbook (the same authors of the Silver Palate). It’s an aptly named tart packed to the brim with lemon zest— even the crust bursts with lemon flavor. My only change was the infusion of basil into the curd, which amplifies the freshness of the lemon and adds a vibrancy you just can’t get from only lemons.
The tart is an explosion of lemon and aromatic basil, which is surprisingly subtle the first day— you might not even notice it if you didn’t know it was there. But the flavors marry and intensify in the fridge after a day or two and it’s an outstanding combination. If you prefer your desserts to be on the sweeter side, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup more of sugar— but for me, this is a tart, lemony and vibrant taste of warming weather. Just don’t forget the whipped cream.
lemon basil tart
makes one 9" tart (or 4 mini tarts for a total volume of 4 cups) | recipe adapted from the new basics cookbook
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3- 4 tbsp lemon juice, sparkling wine or Champagne
lemon basil curd
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 3 lemons (should equal about 1/2 cup of juice)
1 1/2 cups basil, sliced
Combine the flour, butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor and process until the butter is coarsely chopped. With the motor running, pour the lemon juice (or wine) through the feed tube and process until the pastry holds together.
Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface to form an 11" circle (or 4 circles 2" larger than your mini tart pans). Transfer to 9" tart pan with removable bottom, pressing it into the bottom and sides. Trim the dough, leaving a 1" overhang. Fold the overhang back toward the inside and crimp the edge decoratively.
Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork and line it with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Fill the foil with weights (dried beans work great). Bake for 12 minutes. Then remove the foil and weights, return it to the oven, and bake until it is light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool completely.
lemon basil curd
Combine yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat and whisk to combine. Once fully mixed, add basil and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thick, 5- 10 minutes. Don't let mixture boil.
Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Let cool.
When you're ready to assemble the tart, preheat oven to 325 F.
Pour the filling into the tart shell(s) and place on a baking sheet (to catch any drips). Bake tart until the filling is set, about 50 minutes. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
Let the tart cool completely before removing it from the sides of the pan. Serve at room temperature, or chilled. The tart will last 3-4 days in the fridge, after that the crust may become too soggy.