Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Seriously tart Tart

You know when something doesn't turn out exactly as you wanted so then it's this complete disappointment? To you and you alone? Yeah. I mean, I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this really, REALLY tart (I mean, strong?), powerful lemon tart. I mean, seriously intense. And the recipe calls for no whipped cream whatsoever so this is how it's supposed to be eaten. I would make whipped cream were I to serve it to human people.
As you can see from the second picture, the crust came out thicker than I expected too but I discovered that was damn near necessary to counter the strong lemon flavor. And I think I have a misconception about tart dough: it is not, in fact, PIE dough. It's supposed to be denser and not flakey and flimsy. A tart must stand on it's own; it doesn't have a pie plate to hold all those lovely, crumbly flakes of crust together. It was pretty good in the end and I enjoyed it with the lemon.

One thing about the curd, though, which I wish the recipe would've mentioned but didn't: when you add the lemon juice to the egg mixture, the entire thing looks awful and curdled! Even after I put it on the stove and began stirring my hand off, the stuff just looked like curdled eggs! I was sure I was ruined. And yet, I stirred and stirred until FINALLY the mix began to turn and eventually became the silky smooth consistency. So when the mix looks curdled, don't worry! It's not!

But seriously. Serve this with a dollop of whipped cream. Or a big glass of milk.

Source: Ina Garten

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

For the lemon curd:
4 lemons, at room temperature
1 1/2 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 20 to 25 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 1/2 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 10 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.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that - it looks so good! I'm a complete lemon sucker, so I would gladly have one or two slices of this. Being human and all. ;)

Niki said...

Hey Patricia!! Yes, if you love lemon, you'd pass out from this. It's the zest from 4 lemons that really knocks it out of the What Average People Can Eat park. But for those (such as yourself) who can take it, I really think you'd like it. :)