This was much more than a tart though. This was family history. You see, last weekend I drove up to my Great Aunt Mary’s house. It is a beautiful place overlooking the beach and ocean. My Aunt Mary passed away last year but my Aunt J and Uncle S are were up there and wanted to share some family history with me so I got the pleasure of visiting. I have always been close with my Mom’s family but it was cool to learn that I really do come from my Father too. I do have 2 very amazing families; I have roots.
It was very nice. I only met Great Aunt Mary once but she was so cool. She was an artist and lively and I was so impressed with her as a child and am still as an adult. I am lucky to be related to such a lady.
I got to take home some memorabilia of her but also some lemons from her Meyer Lemon tree. Meyer lemons are sweeter smelling and more floral than normal lemons.
I brought them home and enjoyed them all week but then decided it was time to make a lemon tart. The thing about me that you HAVE to understand is that lemon tarts are my favorite thing EVER. I love love love them.
So I researched and looked around and such until I decided to start.
This is halfway through:
And eventually it turns into this (specific recipe below):
(I used classic pie crust with a sweet twist as opposed to more involved tart crust recipes)
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch- 1/4 teaspoon salt–I literally just use our salt grinder over the flour until I feel I have enough.
2/3 cups cold unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6-8 tablespoons water
I have made pie crusts since I was a tinsy version of myself. They are easy as long as you remember (as Mom says) to breathe. In out, in out–relax. I remember the first one I made I kneeded for an hour. You couldn’t cut it with a knife it was so tough. Awesome. The trick to pie crust is that you try to touch it as little as possible. So mix flour salt. Get out your COLD butter (some people even freeze it–I don’t) and cut small pieces on your flour/salt. Take 2 forks and cut the flour until butter is mixed in (this is a workout–no arm weights at the gym later!). Some people use a food processor for this but there is much controversy over that and so many parts to wash so I still use 2 forks. I usually have a movie on when I make pies so I sit on the couch with the bowl in my lap and go at it. You can stop cutting in the butter when it looks sandy–I like to leave it a little before sandy so you get those extra big flakes.
Next add your ICE COLD water. Something to do with chemistry that you need it to be as cold as possible. I always add at least 6 tbsps. I sprinkle then toss dough like a salad with my forks then sprinkle a little more water and toss, etc. The mixture will still be pebbley but trust your instincts when there is enough water–I dump the pebbles on a floured countertop or board and then try not to freak out. How does this loose mixture become awesome crust?!?!?! Breath.
Here, I cheat and pat it flat a little. If you are cool you just start rolling the pebbly loose dough. I pat and flour it, then roll. Remember that it may seem like it will fail but it won’t; it will be awesome. So roll out your dough–if it sucks you can always reroll it.
Put dough in pie plate (this is a double crust recipe–i leave it a little thick for the tart and just eat the extra). Bake at 400 for 10 mins with pie stones (I don’t have these so I just used leftover lemon rinds–I guess you can use beans too).
While crust is baking make your filling.
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1 tablespoon lemon zest
The one thing I like about this curd recipe is that its easy peasy. No separating the yolks–I am horribly bad a that. It won’t be crystal clear but thats cool–it tastes amazing. So in a simmering double boiler (or metal bowl in a simmering pot) dissolve sugar in lemon juice. Add eggs and whisk whisk whisk until thick–about 10mins. Remove from heat and add butter (sieve if there are chunks before adding butter) stirring until melted. Add zest.
Pour curd into crust and bake for 10 mins at 350–or whenever it seems done and before it browns.
Let cool and EAT. EAT IT ALL! Adding fresh whip cream (meringue is blah!) may make it more awesome–I didn’t have any 😦
This recipe is incredibly forgiving so next time I may throw in some kiwi or whatever soft fruit I have around and see what happens.