New year, new chance, new things to conquer. Life never ceases to bring us opportunities to grow or change. I don’t do resolutions but I am considering how I approach day to day life. My goal for my spiritual life is to be more mindful of managing my emotions. Menopause is trying to rear its ugly head and I would like to be “on top” of its side-effects, namely moodiness and hot flashes. Ha! That sounds like a lofty goal!
My goal this month was to eat clean. You know, no sugar, no booze, no “fun foods”. I have gained some weight back since my surgery and I need to get back to the WW program. I was doing fine until I found Meyer lemons at the market and of course I had to buy them which, in turn, meant I had to make something tasty.
Yup, a Meyer lemon tart. It was a bit time consuming but so worth the effort. If you have a loved one who lives for lemon treats, this tart is a no-brainer. You will be their favorite for time – immemorial. So, get this. I had to juice and zest nine lemons (they’re smaller than their more traditional cousins). The recipe calls for a whopping QUARTER cup of zest. I had to add zest from two regular lemons to get that much.
I also discovered another little treasure called “Fiori di Sicilia” extract. I warn you it’s a bit expensive but a little goes a very long way. I found it on Amazon but it’s a product of King Arthur Flour. The recipe I used for the Lavender/Hazelnut Shortbread called for it. I just improvised my own version for that recipe since I didn’t have the extract on hand.
Once I received it I had to find a way to use it, hence the Lemon Tart. I used it in the crust instead of the vanilla the recipe called for. WOWeee! What a beautiful and subtle flavor it adds. I am telling you, if you want to take your baking up a notch, add a scosche of this and you will become so popular with all who eat your delights.
The tart I baked for my husband and my dear friend Christa who are both lovers of all things lemon. The consensus is … AMAZING!
Here’s my version of the recipe:
Sweet Tart Crust
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream (I used Pea Milk)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (OR Fiori di Sicilia)
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
(1 stick, very cold), cut into
twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting
Instructions for Tart Shell
If the dough feels too form when you’re ready to roll it out, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes. If, on the other hand, the dough becomes soft and sticky while rolling, don’t hesitate to rechill it until it becomes easier to work with. Better to rechill than to add too much flour, which will damage the delicate, crisp texture of the dough. We found a French rolling pin (as pictured in illustrations) to be the most precise instrument for rolling tart pastry. Bake the tart shell in a 9- to 9 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and fluted sides about 1 to 1 1/8 inches high. This recipe is formally known as Pâte Sucrée.
1. Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla (or Fiori di Sicilia) in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with
steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Instructions for Rolling out dough:
To facilitate rolling, flatten the dough with a rolling pin by rapping it smartly with one hand and spinning the dough with the other.
Roll the dough upward from the center and downward from the center with even pressure.
Spin the dough one quarter turn, repeating step 2 until dough is 13 inches in diameter (15 inches for an 11-inch tart pan) and 1/8 inch thick. Loosen the dough from the plastic and flour again.
Ease the dough over the rolling pin and roll it up loosely. Unroll the dough on top of the tart pan.
Lift the edge of the dough with one hand and ease it into the corners of the pan with the other.
Unwrap dough; lightly flour large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place dough in center. Follow these instructions.
Place crust in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and other rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chilled tart shell on cookie sheet; press 12-inch square of foil inside tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on lower rack 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer cookie sheet with tart shell to upper rack and continue to bake until shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
Lemon Curd Filling SERVES 8
The filling is a lemon curd adapted for this tart. Once the lemon curd ingredients have been combined, cook the curd immediately; otherwise it will have a grainy finished texture. To prevent the curd from acquiring a metallic taste, make absolutely sure that all utensils coming into contact with it–bowls, whisk, saucepan, and strainer—are made of non-reactive stainless steel or glass. Since the tart pan has a removable bottom, it is more easily maneuvered when set on a cookie sheet. If your pre-baked tart shell has already cooled, place it in the oven just before you start the curd and heat it until warm, about 5 minutes. Serve the tart with lightly whipped cream, the perfect accompaniment to the rich, intensely lemon filling.
7 large egg yolks plus 2 large whole eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons
¼ cup grated lemon zest
pinch table salt
4 tablespoons unsalted
butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place tart pan with shell on cookie sheet. In medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer mixture to medium non-reactive saucepan, add butter pieces, and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until curd thickens to thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour curd through single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean nonreactive bowl. Stir in heavy cream; pour curd into warm tart shell immediately.
1. At first, the curd will appear thin and soupy.
2. When the spatula leaves a clear trail in the bottom of the saucepan (which quickly disappears), the curd is ready to come off heat.
3. Bake until filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove outer metal ring, slide thin metal spatula between bottom crust and tart pan bottom to release,then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.