Tuesday, March 04, 2008

sunday supper: tart tart

In keeping with the French theme of my Sunday night dinner, dessert was a lemon curd tart from a recipe by Ina Garten. I had a string of little disasters with this recipe. First, I ignored her directive of buttering foil to line the crust before weighting it and blind baking. Every crust that I've blind baked before I've simply used parchment paper to line and had no problems. But this time, it did stick to the parchment paper, and I peeled away a couple of thin patches from the bottom of the crust. This wasn't a hugely big deal since it was a fairly thick crust and that part is filled anyway, but I was annoyed with myself. The second problem was not my fault, I think the baking time for the crust was way too long. Even removing the crust 10 minutes before the recipe called for, I had baked it too long. It was darker than I wanted it, and a couple of minutes more would have burned it. The third problem was mostly my fault, I didn't thicken the custard enough over the stove before filling the crust, and the result was a really runny tart. The recipe says it should take about 10 minutes on the stove, I stopped after 15, it probably needed more like 20. Hence, no photo of a slice.

It was still pretty yummy, though extremely rich. The crust was so buttery and crunchy, it was like a giant shortbread cookie filled with lemon custard. I think this crust recipe called for a lot of butter compared to other recipes I've seen. I would probably be inclined to find a lighter crust recipe and use the lemon curd filling again. I made some adjustments to the recipe after the jump:

For the tart shell:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt

For the lemon curd:
3 small lemons, zested, plus 4 lemons juiced, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the tart shell:

Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 10-15 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the lemon curd:

Remove the zest of the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/3 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 20 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.


Kitchen Trove said...

Beautiful. Lighter may be good...but all the butter sounds amazing!

Leah said...

I just want to reach into that picture and break off a corner of crust and pop it into my mouth!!!!

faycat said...

I have to invent Wonka-vision!

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B.A.B. said...

That is some tart!