Lemon-Hazelnut Tart Recipe
This unusual cake from Susan Feniger, chef-owner of Street in LA, pleasantly surprises with crispy meringue, rich hazelnuts, and lemon segments that pop in your mouth. It’s a baked Alaska minus the ice cream: a thin nut cake topped with meringue. Don’t panic if the meringue cracks—it’s supposed to, and we think it adds character.
What to buy: A 10-inch round cake pan and parchment paper are both available at most cooking supply stores.
Game plan: This is a fairly straightforward cake. If you haven’t segmented an orange or a lemon before, check out this video for quick instructions.
For the tart:
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- 1 1/2 cups toasted, blanched slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 1/4 cups toasted whole hazelnuts, skins removed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
For the meringue and lemon garnish:
- 3 lemons
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar, for serving
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Coat a 10-inch round cake pan with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the top of the parchment paper, and coat the inside of the entire pan with flour, shaking out any excess.
- Place the almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl. Place the hazelnuts in the food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the almonds and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the ground nut mixture with the measured flour and set aside. Reserve the remaining ground nuts for later use in the meringue.
- Place the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and mix on medium-high speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Clean the mixer bowl and return it to the stand mixer. Beat the egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the salt and continue beating until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold the nut-flour mixture and beaten whites into the beaten yolk-sugar mixture, alternating one-third nut-flour mixture and one-third whites, until both the nut mixture and the whites are folded in. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake until lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the tart, invert onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and remove the piece of parchment attached to the tart. While the tart is finishing cooling, prepare the meringue and lemon garnish.
For the meringue and lemon garnish:
- Heat the oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Slice the ends off the lemons and stand the lemons upright on a cutting board. Cut away the skin and white pith, exposing the fruit. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, separate the sections by slicing between the membranes using a paring knife. Remove and discard the seeds. Arrange the sections evenly over the cooled tart. Drizzle the accumulated lemon juice through a fine-mesh strainer over the top of the tart.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high until foamy, about 1 minute (make sure the bowl of the mixer is very clean). Very gradually add the granulated sugar, whisking continuously until stiff peaks form and the mixture is shiny and thick, about 5 minutes. Gently fold in the reserved ground nuts with a plastic spatula.
- Spread the meringue evenly over the cooled tart set on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top meringue layer has set. (As the meringue dries, it may start to crack.) Set the baking sheet on a rack to cool the tart completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.