It’s one of my favorite times of year – the coming of spring, and I’m celebrating the warm days to come with this yuzu meringue tart. Also, it’s been a year since the pandemic shut everything down and life changed entirely, and now that hope is finally here and an ending is on the horizon, I thought this would also be a good time to mark the change with bright little poem of a tartlet – a prelude of more happiness to come. I’m looking forward to some happy baking this summer, after all the comfort cooking we’ve been doing!
Click here to jump to recipe
Ever since my first exposure to Sadaharu Aoki‘s yuzu tart in Paris, I’ve been a fan of yuzu. Yuzu is actually in season through the winter, so I wanted to make this tart now before it’s too late. In Japan, it’s actually a tradition on the winter solstice to take a bath with yuzu fruit dropped into the water; the hot water releases the fragrant oils in the fruit rinds to create a relaxing atmosphere.
Yuzu can be a bit of a rare fruit to find depending on where you are; here in the Bay Area you can sometimes find them at farmers’ markets during the winter to early spring. The yuzu fruit is incredibly fragrant; it’s one of my favorite scents, so don’t miss out on using the zest in recipes. Yuzu juice tastes a bit like a mix of lemon, grapefruit, and orange: it’s not as mouth-puckeringly sour as straight lemon juice but it has some additional tangy notes that also lend it to savory applications like ponzu sauce. If you can’t find fresh yuzu fruit, you can also use bottled yuzu juice: as I discuss in my post here, you have to be careful as some of them have salt added which gives it a salty rather than sweet flavor. Be sure to ask at the grocery store if you’re unsure.
The combination of yuzu and lemon makes for a gorgeous, pale gold curd that I can eat on its own with a spoon, or spread over scones. It also makes a perfect tart filling: in a crisp tart shell and dotted with berries, it looks like a classic Parisian tart.
You can cover the entire tartlet with meringue (particularly if you want to cut the sourness of the yuzu), but opted for a little zigzag with my new St. Honoré piping tip – I really like the design it makes, and I love leaving part of the yuzu cream exposed since it’s such a cheery shade of yellow. It looks a bit like the sun emerging from the clouds, which is how I think many of us feeling like lately.
All the cherry blossom trees in our neighborhood are in bloom right now, so I’m walking through a shower of pink petals every time I walk outside. Another sign of new life and renewal, and I loved using them to decorate the yuzu tart.
I hope your days are brightening and you’re ready to celebrate spring – I know I am!
- 5 oz (142 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (100 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ cup (50 g) almond meal or ground blanched almonds
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- zest from 2 lemons (Meyer lemons if they are in season)
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup yuzu juice
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 5 ounces butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened but not melting
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Place the butter in a food processor and process until soft and creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar and process until well blended and smooth.
- Add in the almond meal, vanilla extract, and salt and process until well blended. Add in the egg and process until just blended; scrape the bowl down as necessary.
- Add the flour and pulse just until the dough starts to come together into a ball; don't overprocess. The dough will be very soft like cookie dough.
- Scrape the dough out of the food processor and make into a ball. Flatten out into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours until it is firm enough to handle.
- When you are ready to bake off the tart shells, take the dough out of the refrigerator – let it warm up a bit if necessary but not too much because it will start softening fast.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap to ⅛" thickness. If the dough gets too soft, place back in the refrigerator to firm up.
- Cut out circles of dough to fit into desired tart rings. Press the dough carefully into the tart rings and up the sides, being careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink when baked. Place the rings into the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Trim off the excess dough from the top of the rings.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F while chilling the tart shells. When you are ready, line the shells with parchment and fill with beans or rice to keep the shells weighed down.
- Bake shells for about 15-18 minutes until they are lightly colored and the shell feels dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Remove the beans and parchment and brush the bottoms of the shells with a light egg wash (made from an egg white and a bit of water). Let cool before filling.
- Create a water bath by placing a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl unto the pan so its bottom does not touch the water.
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers and add to the metal bowl.
- Whisk in the eggs, yuzu juice, and lemon juice.
- Cook the mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly, until the cream reaches 180 degrees and thickens. Keep whisking while the mixture is heating up to prevent the eggs from cooking.
- Once the cream is thickened – you should be able to make tracks in the mixture with your whisk – take the cream off the heat and strain it into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Let the cream rest for a bit until it cools to about 140 degrees.
- Add in the butter pieces a few at the time and combine on high speed. Once all of the butter has been added, let the mixture combine for a few minutes longer to ensure the mixture is perfectly smooth.
- Once the cream is finished pour it into a container and let it chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour before assembly.
- Spoon the cream into the tart shells, smoothing out the tops with an offset spatula. Place in refrigerator to chill while you make the meringue.
- Combine the sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl and place over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk the sugar mixture constantly over heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.
- Remove mixture from heat and pour into a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
- Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
- You can now scrape the frosting into a piping bag to pipe, or simply dollop onto the tartlets. Use a brulee torch to brown the meringue.