Monday, February 09, 2009

in season: whole lemon tart

I know, I know. I just made a lemon tart a couple weeks ago. But, you see, whenever I have some lemon tart, it haunts me. And I swear this one is different. Because, like that wacky clementine cake from last month, this tart uses the whole lemon, peel and all. As with last time, J-Cat's question was "why?". Well, it's a good question. And the only answer I have is "because it's strange".

It is also a) easier than the lemon curd tart b) another good excuse to buy Meyer lemons and c) dee-licious.

Unlike the lemon curd, this filling requires no cooking, just blending. It forms this caramelize-y sugar top all on it's own. And the slight bitterness from the peel gives it a little flavor edge to counteract the sweetness. I don't know that this tart would move into my #1 lemon dessert slot, because I'm fairly obsessed with lemon curd, but it is a very close second. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp cold water

For the filling:
2 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg, at room temp.
2 large egg yolks, at room temp.
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled

Method: Crust
Preheat oven to 375F. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter, and process until large moist crumbs form. Transfer the dough to a round tart pan (10 or 12-inch diameter). With floured fingers press the dough into the pan. Freeze until firm (around 15min). Take out the freezer, and prick all over with a fork and cover with aluminium foil. Bake until golden for 20 min. Remove the foil and press down the crust with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Place the cooled crust on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet.

Method: Filling
Preheat the oven to 325F. Scrub the lemons and dry well. Cut the lemons into small pieces. Place the lemon pieces and sugar together in a blender and process until a regular consistency (you will need to scrape down the blender with a rubber spatula multiple times, to make sure the lemon and sugar are integrated). Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a smooth consistency has been formed. Tap the blender on your bench top a few times to eliminate some of the bubble and pour into the tart crust.

Transfer the tart pan and baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 min.

Increase the temperature to 350F and bake for another 25-30 min. When the tart has finished baking it should be fairly set, and the top will have a sugary crust. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temp.

This can be served at room temp. or chilled (it can be served two days after it has been made as long as it's kept in the fridge).

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