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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lemon Tart

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I wish I were eloquent enough to wax poetic about this dessert so that you could truly understand just how incredible it was. Instead, let me tell you this: Ryan is not an excitable person. By nature he is very even-tempered and rarely shows extreme emotion one way or the other. (Me? Now that's a whole different story...!) While this can be a positive characteristic, it can also be incredibly frustrating, especially when I want to gauge his reaction about something I've made. To him, he is approving and telling me he likes something. But I'm looking for exclamations! for fireworks! for excitement, for goodness sakes!

And finally, I got it, all thanks to this dessert. This tart, with the basil ice cream posted yesterday, was declared the best dessert of Ryan's life. You know how much baking goes on in our household, so that's a bold statement.

If those statements don't convince you that you must immediately make this, these pictures will:

Yes, it was really that good. Good enough to conclude our fancy, elegant Cork & Fork dinner by licking our plates. Good enough that all four of us ate a piece, then immediately served ourselves a second piece with more basil ice cream. I'm typically not even a lemon dessert lover!

Try it, see for yourself.

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Lemon Tart
crust from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours, filling from Epicurious.com
For the crust:
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 stick plus 1 tbsp very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
-1 large egg yolk

1. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter has been cut in coarsely (pieces may be a variety of sizes).
2. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it to the food processor bowl a little bit at a time. Pulse after each addition. Once the entire egg has been added, process in long pulses (10 seconds) until the dough forms clumps and curds. Remove dough from the bowl.
3. Lightly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that didn't get mixed in well.
4. Butter a tart pan and press the dough into the pan, making sure to press evenly along the bottom and up the sides. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before baking.
5. Preheat oven to 375. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and fit the foil against the crust. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil. If crust is puffy, gently press down on it with the back of a spoon. Bake for 3-5 more minutes before removing from oven and transferring to a cooling rack.

For the lemon filling:
-2 large eggs, cold
-2 large egg yolks, cold
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1. Bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl used for the sabayon.
2. In a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for 1 minutes, until the mixture is smooth.
3. Set the bowl over the pot and, with a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (to ensure even heating). After approximately 2 minutes, the eggs should be foamy and have thickened. Add 1/3 the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Whisk vigorously and turn the bowl, until the mixture has thickened and is light in color (8-10 minutes).
4. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. The filling might loosen slightly, but should thicken and set as it cools. Pour the filling into the tart crust and place on a baking sheet.
5. Immediately place the tart under a preheated broiler. Leave the door open and brown the top of the tart (only takes a few seconds). Remove and allow to sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold.