Lemon Tart

Few years ago, I took a cooking class at Sur La Table where I made lemon tart for the first time.  I liked the taste of the lemon curd, but not the richness from the six egg yolks that the recipe called for.  My friend recently referred me to David Lebovitz’s recipe, which produced great results every time.  It’s a tangy, sweet summer dessert; the lemon curd just lends a beautiful light balance to the rich, buttery crust!

Lots of pie and tart dough recipes use shortening to give it a flakier texture, but I find that the combination of extra cold butter and ice cold water work just as well. Since I had to transport it to a barbecue, I made the crust thicker (1/4 inch) than I normally would to prevent the crust from breaking (there was still a small crack, but thankfully not too noticeable). If I was baking and serving it at home, I would roll out the dough slightly thinner (1/8 inch).

A word of caution when making the lemon curd is to be extremely attentive when you’re whisking the mixture over the stove. Keep whisking as the mixture gets hotter and hotter, and when it thickens, you want to remove it from the heat source as soon as possible.

The tart can be topped with a cloud of fluffy meringue, few lemon slices, or a layer of raspberries with a light dusting of powdered sugar to make it more visually stunning. I hope this tart makes its way to your picnic or cookout soon before summer is over!

Lemon Tart (Tarte Au Citron)
Recipe from David Leibovitz
(makes one 9-inch tart)

½ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one lemon, preferably unsprayed
½ cup sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
One pre-baked 9-inch tart shell

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan, heat the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Have a mesh strainer nearby. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the yolks.

When the butter is melted, whisk some of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm them. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and almost begins to bubble around the edges. Pour the lemon curd though a strainer directly into the pre-baked tart shell, scraping with a rubber spatula to press it through. Smooth the top of the tart and place it in the oven for five minutes to set the curd.

Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving.

*For the tart shell, I used the recipe for pate brisee.

*If you want an intricate and refined look, sort the raspberries by size and arrange the larger berries on the outside and smaller ones as you work your way into the center of the tart.

*A trick I’ve learned is to use a tea strainer for the powdered sugar dusting since it’s much finer than a mesh strainer and you can even store it in the box for a quick dusting on baked goods and desserts. Mine is an expensive one from Ikea.

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