Spring is the time for the appearance of beautiful produce. When I went to the market the other day, my eye was caught by the piles of bright yellow lemons
Without having any particular recipe in mind, I picked out several.
As I was thinking about how to use them I came across a gorgeous food blog, Cannelle et Vanille (http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/). It shares with its audience the culinary adventures of Basque chef, Aran Goyoaga, who resides in the South Florida area. While the site features savory dishes, its forte is definitely pastries, reflecting the culinary training of Goyoaga.
As I looked through the recipes, I decided to put the lovely lemons I purchased to good use in a lemon tart. joyokfbaking.com had a very simple, yet elegant-looking recipe that I decided to use. Tarts seem to to take baking to a higher level of elegance and beauty. For some reason, they make me think of charming cafes in old European cities such as Paris and Amsterdam. Given all the fruit that will be harvested over the next few months, I may do a series on them.
What I love about the lemon tart is that the crust is a homemade shortbread, which is billowy with just the right amount of sweetness. It is certainly a nice change from graham cracker crust, which I do like a good deal.
The filling is quite simple; it is a mixture of a few eggs, lemon juice, cream cheese and grated lemon rind. Let's be clear -- lemon is the star! The tart has just enough sweetness to take the edge off the tartness of the lemon, but not so much that the citrusy flavor is masked. The topping is just as simple -- heaving whipping cream and confectioners' sugar beaten to perfection.
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 ounces (140 grams) cream cheese, room temperature.
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer lemon skin)
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream (contains 35-40% butterfat)
1 tablespoon (10 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
Crust: Grease with butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable cooking spray, an 8 - 9 inch (20 - 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps.
Place the pastry in the prepared tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. (Can use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of the pastry.)
Pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. (This will prevent the pastry crust from puffing up while it bakes.)
Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. (This will help prevent the crust from shrinking while it bakes.)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
When the pastry is completely chilled, place the tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees (177 degrees C).
Filling: In a food processor or electric mixer, place the cream cheese and process until smooth.
Add sugar and process until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, and process until thoroughly combined.
Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended and smooth.
Pour filling into pre-baked tart shell and bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes or until filling is set. Transfer tart to a wire rack to cool and then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.
Topping: Put mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes. Beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with star tip (#4B), and pipe stars over the entire surface of the tart.
Refrigerate until serving time.
Serves 6 - 8 people.
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/LemonTart.html#ixzz1LIrYtCpK