Pastry Chef Justin Burke-Samson tells us how to make his signature summer dessert

justin burke-samson

Justin Burke-Samson tells us about this beautiful Meyer Lemon Tarte.

This is one of the top five desserts I’m asked to make. It’s a good representation of who I am as a pastry chef: not too fussy, nostalgic but modernized, fun and bold.

I spent a good year trying to find the right lemon curd that wasn’t tooth-achingly sweet or so sour that it was bitter. This curd is super lemony and sour, but also smooth and refreshing at the same time. I use a full cup of Meyer lemon juice and add heavy cream, so the fat mellows the tartness and rounds the flavor out. I also use whole vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract to get a fresh warm aroma and flavor.

justin burke-samson
I rarely use an all-butter crust. I’m looking for depth in the crust, and usually I’m disappointed in all butter. Instead, I now add 1/2 toasted macadamia nut flour to add structure to the dough and richness to its flavor. The nut crust complements the lemon and the very subtle tropical pomegranate flavor.

Then, the marshmallow meringue on top is where the sweetness comes into play for this dessert. It’s light, fluffy and screams summer nights, which is why I toast it. To top it all off, the fresh pomegranate and red currants add freshness, acid, and a pop of color. The zest is just another hit of Meyer lemon, because I think you always need more Meyer lemon.

justin burke-samson

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