The whipped cream tempers the tartness of the custard. The marionberry syrup, which I got at the farmers' market, gives this dessert a nice tang.
The local supermarket was having a special on lemons, 2 lb bags for $1.88. What a deal, huh? I picked up 3 bags. Mostly I’ve been making lemonade and refreshing cocktails, but Hubby suggested making a dessert. Never made a lemon tart before, so I thought I’d give that a try. I found a recipe on Food Network, courtesy of Francois Payard, that seemed pretty straightforward, but it wasn’t. I only blame myself for messing around with a recipe from a world-famous pattisier. However, everything worked out fine in the end and we all lived happily ever after, as you can tell from the picture.
adapted from Francois Payard’s recipe on Food Network
- ½ cup packed mint leaves (stems okay too), roughly chopped
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 or 4 lemons)
- zest from lemons
- ½ cup granulated sugar (about 4 oz)
- 4 to 5 eggs
- 3 tbs unsalted butter, cut into chunks
Sweet tart dough
- 1 cup + 1 tbs confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 9 tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
This dough recipe makes enough for two tarts, but the filling is only enough for one. Don’t ask me why; I’m just the chump who tried out the recipe. I used mini-tart pans and got 9 of them using half the dough. You may freeze the other half, well wrapped, for a couple of months or use it for another tart.
The easiest way to make the crust is with a food processor. Add all the ingredients, except the egg, and pulse until they are uniform. Add the egg and pulse just until the dough comes together. Turn out the dough. It will be sticky. REALLY, VERY, TOTALLY STICKY! I wish I would have known that in advance so I could adequately flour my counter. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You definitely don’t want to skip this part. You want the dough to be chilled through when you roll it out, otherwise you will just have a terrible sticky mess. (Make sure you have plenty of flour handy when you roll out the dough because you’ll need to lightly sprinkle flour on after every couple of passes. And work fast because the dough warms up pretty quickly. It was a bit annoying since I’d never worked with such a sticky dough before, but well worth it.) Pre-bake the crust at 350F for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust starts to turn golden. Don’t let it get too brown because you’ll be giving it another 10 minutes when the custard bakes.
The following day, strain the mixture into a glass or other non-reactive bowl. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks a bit murky. As you can see from my picture, it brightens up after adding the remaining ingredients. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the butter and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. According to the original instructions, we’re supposed to whisk constantly until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth, but by that point my mixture was still quite thin and wasn’t really cooked. Luckily I have some experience making custard-based desserts, so I decided to continue cooking and whisking. As the mixture started to warm up, it did start to thicken a bit, but I was still afraid it would be too thin, so I added another egg. It thickened up quite quickly, but it may have done that if I just cooked it long enough. Basically it should be able to coat the back of a spoon. Set the mixture aside (off the water) to cool for a few minutes.
Pour the slightly cooled mixture into the pre-baked shell, and bake in a 325F oven (don’t go higher or the custard may curdle) just until the center sets, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack, then in the fridge until completely chilled. Serve with whipped cream.
I'm submitting this to Weekend Wokking (before the deadline!), where the theme ingredient this month is, you guessed it, LEMONS! The host is Wandering Chopsticks. If you have a lemon recipe to submit, please send entries to wanderingchopsticks(at)gmail(dot)com by 11:59 May 31.