A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, I’ve been thinking about all the delicious, traditional fare our family enjoys during the holiday. Though this particular holiday meal would feel incomplete without the usual suspects (turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and the rest) when it comes to dessert, I’ll admit that I get a little bored with pecan pie. I always wish for something a bit citrusy to complement a heavy meal and was overjoyed recently to discover the perfect dessert: a Meyer lemon pistachio tart. The texture of this tart reminds me of pecan pie, but the lemony finish adds a twist that really appeals to my palate.

Note the filling’s texture: looks an awful lot like pecan pie, but so much better! (No offense to you pecan pie loyalists.)

My fellow trivia buffs and foodies will enjoy knowing that Meyer lemons are a cross between a common lemon and a mandarin orange. The fruit is slightly less acidic, deeper yellow in color and is wonderfully fragrant. Some people say Meyer lemons are also sweeter, but I can’t tell the difference on that front. They are in season now through the end of December, FYI. (I have not made this tart with regular lemons, but I would imagine the standard variety would work just fine.)

Simple ingredients. Aren’t these Meyer lemons gorgeous?

The assembled tart, ready for the oven.

The crust is crumbly, so be sure of where you’re placing it when you remove the tart from the pan!

I have to thank my friend Louise for introducing me to this divine treat – she served it at our book club recently, and if I could have found a way to furtively lick the plate and not embarrass myself, I would have!

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Meyer Lemon Pistachio Tart, from Peace Meals: A Book of Recipes for Cooking and Connecting (from the Junior League of Houston)
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 T. powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped shelled pistachios (I use the dry-roasted, unsalted variety)
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t. grated Meyer lemon zest
  • 2 T. fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • Topping:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 T. fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup chopped shelled pistachios
Instructions
  1. For the crust:
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove butter from heat and add both sugars, stirring to combine. Mix in the flour. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes; the dough will still be warm. Press the dough against the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow the crust to cool. Sprinkle the pistachios evenly over the crust.
  3. For the filling: Stir together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice, and stir to blend. Pour the filling into the partially baked crust. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. (If your oven cooks hot and the filling browns too quickly, lightly cover tart with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning.) Let cool.
  4. For the topping: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter in a small bowl. Spread the glaze over the cooled tart. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios to finish.
 

Special note for those who, like me, travel during Thanksgiving to visit family: you’re in luck with this tart recipe, because it freezes and travels well! After the tarts is completely cooled, cut into wedges and place individual slices in a plastic container (I use parchment paper to separate the slices) and pop into the freezer. You’ll arrive with a yummy treat and be the toast of the table!

Product testing? One of many reasons I heart my job!

Enjoy!