I have a Meyer lemon citrus tree growing in my backyard which makes a crop of fruit each winter — sometimes more, sometimes less. The fruit look like very large lemons with a tart, aromatic flavor, although they are technically not lemons at all. I look forward to figuring out recipes to use these unique lemony-looking fruit. Every now and then I like to indulge in something special and rich. A recipe for a Meyer Lemon Tart with a Gingersnap Crust in a magazine caught my eye. I’ve had this magazine tucked away for a couple of years — this seems like a good time to try the tart. The crust is made like a graham cracker crust — only using gingersnaps. The filling is similar to a Key Lime Pie using sweetened condensed milk and Meyer lemons. The ginger flavor in the crust balances the sweet, rich filling. If you like sweets, this is dessert hard to to resist.
Meyer lemons originated in China. They are a hybrid fruit — a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo hybrid. They were brought to this country by Agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer in 1908 and the tree was named for him. The fruit are round, yellow and larger that ordinary lemons. They are tart but slightly sweeter than lemons with a floral taste. In general, they can be used in place of lemons and perhaps oranges. The Meyer lemon is one citrus fruit that grows well in Louisiana — at least in years when there are not long or hard freezes. I have enjoyed my little tree.
The gingersnap crust gives this otherwise ordinary pie a special touch. However, the curst is crumbly! I put the gingersnaps in a large zip lock bag to crush them. Then add melted butter and brown sugar and blend in. Bake the crust in a 9″ springform pan with removable bottom and let it cool before adding the filling.
For this recipe, I made a filling like a typical “Key Lime Pie” which uses sweetened condensed milk. I found fat-free sweetened condensed milk and substituted in the Meyer lemon juice for lime juice. If you don’t have Meyer lemons — ordinary lemon juice can be used.
To make the filling, separate egg yolks from the whites and use the whites for another recipe. Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer until light yellow and creamy. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Pour the filling into the gingersnap pie shell and bake in the prepared tart shell on a low temperature just until set. Chill for several hours before serving.
Top this very crumbly tart with whipped topping or whipped cream. I was surprised at how easy this pie was to prepare with only a few ingredients. It is very sweet — so we’ll use it on special occasions — perhaps as an Easter Sunday dessert! Enjoy!
And it is delicious — the gingerbread crust and sweet, but tart filling balance together.
Rich Meyer Lemon Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Ingredients for crust:
- 1-1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Ingredients for tart filling:
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 2 Meyer lemons) or substitute juice from 3 ordinary lemons
- Whipped topping, for decoration after baking
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- For crust: Combine crushed gingersnaps, brown sugar. Add in melted butter and stir to combine. Press in bottom and up sides of 9″ springform pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until crust is set. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature on wire rack. May make a day or two ahead.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Add egg yolks to medium-sized bowl of electic mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and Meyer lemon juice. Beat until combined.
- Pour into prepared gingersnap crust in springform pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees until filling is set.
- Remove from oven and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
- Decorate with whipped topping prior to serving.