Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lemony Lemon Tart

I love lemons. Their tart, zingy, bright flavor perks up your taste buds so quickly, your mouth is left in a state of utter thrill. My go-to French chef, Laura Calder, has a recipe in her cookbook, French Food at Home, that I've been wanting to try for months! She calls it "The Lemon Tart of My Dreams." Quite the title, I know. Tonight was the night. I made her Sweet Pastry Tart Crust and the delicious lemon filling. Oh delight upon delights! This tart is WONDERFUL and actually pretty low in calories (236 calories for 1 slice of a 12-slice tart). If you like lemon bars, you'll love this tart.

Lemon Tart (recipe courtesy of Laura Calder)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
One Sweet Pastry shell, prebaked (see recipe below)
Confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, mixing well. Whisk in the cream. Pour into the prebaked tart shell. Skim off any surface foam.

2. Bake until just set, 15-20 minutes. Let cool, dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Sweet Pastry
1.5 cups AP flour
2 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
7 tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup water

1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1/4 cup water and pulse until a soft dough forms. Remove from the processor and knead twice with the heel of your hand. Gather the dough into a ball and press into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate to rest for 1 hour. Refrigerate the egg white for later.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the dough has rested for at least 1 hour, roll into a circle slightly larger than you think you need. Drape into the tart shell, pressing to fit, and this is the important part, leave it draping a good inch over the outside edges. This prevents it from sinking down the sides and turning into a hard pancake.

3. Line the pastry with parchment and pour in dried beans, or whatever you use for weights. (This is called blind baking and it's important to prevent the shell from puffing up and ruining the shell.) Bake until completely cooked, 15-20 minutes. I cooked mine for 15 minutes, took off the parchment paper and weight, and then cooked for 5 more minutes. Brush the bottom with a bit of the beaten egg white to seal it and keep it crisp. Now, scrape the top edge of the tart with a sharp knife to remove the pastry overhang.

4. Fill with tart filling!

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