I usually like to pair my recipes and food photos with philosophical musings (or perhaps “ramblings” is more accurate), which is why months tend to pass by before I have the time and inclination to write any new posts. But sometimes sugar is just sweet. Sometimes, dessert just tastes good. And this is one of those times.
Yesterday, I made a recipe that was so good, and so deceivingly easy that I just have to share it. So I’m breaking my own rules, sparing you the life lesson, and keeping it short and sweet with a great recipe and some pretty photos. (Also trying to follow my own advice to simplify. Can you break your own rules and follow your own advice at the same time?)
I used this recipe for “Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart” by dymnyno on Food 52. I was intrigued by the technique: no futzing around making lemon curd, just throw a whole Meyer lemon in a blender (peel and all) with eggs, sugar and a stick of butter and voila: tart filling that’s ready to pour into your tart shell and bake. You don’t even have to melt the butter. I did “go the extra mile” and remove the seeds from the recipe, even though the recipe didn’t specifically say to do so. I’m a perfectionist like that.
I made my own tart shell using the recipe below, which was also pretty easy, but if you really want to be “lazy” and just pick up a pre-made tart shell from Whole Foods, I fully support that decision.
Classic Tart Dough from the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups AP flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces and chilled
Whisk egg yolk, cream, and vanilla together in a bowl. Process flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add chunks of butter, tossing to coat each one in the flour mixture. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15x. With machine running, add egg mixture and continue to process until dough just comes together around blade, about 12 seconds.
Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten to 6″ disk. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour. (Can make ahead and store up to 2 days in fridge or 1 month in freezer). Before rolling out dough, let it sit on counter to soften slightly for about 10 min. Roll out into 11″ circle on lightly floured surface. Loosely roll up onto rolling pan and gently unroll onto 9″ tart pan with removable bottom, letting excess dough hang over the edges. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan, forming distinct seam around pan’s circumference. Crust should be 1/4″ thick all around. If some sections are too thin, reinforce them by folding the excess dough back on itself. Run rolling-pin over top of tart pan to remove any excess dough. Prick holes into bottom with a fork. Wrap dough-lined tart pan loosely in plastic wrap place on large plate and freeze until dough is fully chilled and firm, about 30 min. (Can be wrapped tightly and frozen up to a month).
Heat oven to 375. Set dough-lined tart shell on a baking sheet, line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or dry rice or beans). Bake about 15 min, remove parchment and pie weights and bake for another 10 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before pouring in lemon filling and baking tart at 350 for 35-40 min.
Inspired by the lavender blooming in my garden I added a few drops of lavender extract to the whipped cream just for fun.