Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lemon Cream Tart with Shortbread Crust

With my hubby out of town, I took some time to do a little baking. I set my sights on a lemon cream tart recipe I had been eyeing for the last week. I knew after reading through it that I would have to make some changes.

First off, I only had enough eggs for the filling, so I couldn't make the recipe's crust that called for one egg yolk. Instead I switched to a simple, three ingredient, press-in crust. There was no chilling of any ingredients or wrapping any dough in plastic. You put flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse it until it starts to form little balls. Then you dump it into a spring form pan and press it in. Since I was doing a lemon tart, I put some zest in the dough for good measure.

Next it was onto the filling. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup lemon juice (which in my experience results in a super sour filling, not what I was in the mood for). So I kept the sugar the same and started by adding a little less than half a cup of lemon juice. This was the perfect amount.

Now, I must warn you that once all the ingredients are put into the double broiler, it takes a good 10 to 13 minutes of whisking until the lemon cream thickens and reaches 180 degrees. So just be aware that you will get a great arm workout and you may need to lift weights with the other arm to balance yourself out :)

Anyway, I'm not opposed to using a double broiler, so this recipe came together really easily. Once I baked and cooled the shortbread crust, I poured in the silky, lemon cream filling and popped it into the refrigerator.

After a trip to the park with my little girl, I came home and indulged myself with a delicious slice of lemon cream tart.

The delicate, buttery crust was perfect with the smooth lemon filling. Some nut crusts can be distracting, like the pine nut ones that are commonly paired with lemon filling. But this crust worked really well and tasted like a big thick sugar cookie. The filling had a nice mellow lemon flavor, with the perfect balance of zesty and sweet.

The next morning, a friend of mine came over for a play date and surprised me with coffee and Bailey's. Yum. I in-turn pulled out my lemon cream tart. We both had a slice with our coffee and she ate every bite and said she loved it.

My husband arrived home shortly after and also had a piece. He loved it as well and said the crust was his favorite part. So there you go. I think this recipe is a keeper.

Luscious Lemon Cream Tart w/Shortbread Crust
Press-in Shortbread Crust
1 stick plus 6 T salted butter
½ Cup sugar
1 ½ flour
Zest from one lemon

Preheat 400 degrees

In a food processor, pulse the butter, sugar, zest and flour together until coarse crumbs form. Pour the mixture into an ungreased nonstick 9-inch spring form pan and press down evenly on the bottom and ½ inch up the side. Bake the shortbread crust until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Check at about 15 minutes to make sure it’s not browning too quickly. Cool on a wire rack and chill the refrigerator.

For the lemon cream:
filling adapted from:
1 cup sugar
zest of 3 lemons
½ Cup lemon juice
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened

Make a water bath by putting a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl over, without the bottom touching the water. Rub the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers and add to the metal bowl. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.Cook the mixture over the water bath, whisking constantly until the cream reaches 180 degrees. It can take up to 10 minutes.Once the cream reaches 180 (your whisk will leave ribbon tracks in the cream),remove the cream off the heat and put it into a blender. Let the cream cool to 140.Add in the butter and process until perfectly smooth.Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the tarts by spooning the cream into the refrigerated tart shell.


shauna said...

I can't wait until you move back, then I will buzz over to your house on my lunch for a slice of everything you make! Yeah me!

One on the way said...

I know. How fun will that be? We'll have to take a stroll around the block after we enjoy our desserts :)

Can't Wait!


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