Saturday, June 28, 2008

Queen of Tarts

Since I've been home, I've made 4 fruit tarts already. I guess you could say I've gone a little tart crazy, but I can't help myself with the abundance of summer fruits and berries.

I came across this recipe while watching my absolute favorite Food Network show, The Barefoot Contessa. Her lemon curd is delicious and really brings out the flavor of the lemons, which I had picked that afternoon from my grandmother's garden. I added a pint of fresh raspberries and substituted the crust recipe from the Balsamic Custard Tart (just because that one used a little less butter). The result was perfection--my family couldn't stop eating!

Lemon Curd Tart (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)

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.

**Arrange a pint of fresh raspberries. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

I love tarts!


1 comment:

Julian said...

This is beautiful! I've always wanted to try making a tart, but never gotten around to it. You've inspired me though, I definitely think I'm going to try this one soon. Great blog, by the way. I'm a friend of Hazel's and one of the people who came to the Gourmet Club info session (but not to the potluck, sorry). I'm looking forward to the club!