Err, whoops, I promised you this back in April. I did in fact make it at the end of April/early May, however – then I had finals. And then I went home. And didn’t connect my computer to the internet for several weeks. So, in a long story short, I’ve made this. It’s delicious. I took photographs (I’m slightly obsessed with my lemon photographs – they’re so beautiful a color), and now I’m showing them to you.
The thing is that, as much as I’m enjoying this blogging thing (yes, I just referred to it as such), I sometimes forget that I have a responsibility to do this. At least to myself. And then I feel sort of uninspired, because I could be more creative, but I’m not really experienced enough to be creative with recipes – yet. But I’m learning. And I think that part of this is all about learning, so I keep trying. (Also, sometimes I start taking pictures, and the food I’m cooking does not turn out well – I made a stir-fry this week, and while I took some beautiful pictures of my process, I wouldn’t share that recipe with you if you paid me. And you’d be pretty foolish to pay me, because it wasn’t good).
Having said that, however, I can also tell you that I’m not incredibly busy at school right now. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop (and it has at times…but not permanently yet), and so I really have no excuse to not post something at least once a week on this blog. I think I’m making this goal right now…so I’ll try and keep up.
Now: about this beautiful tart. This was the first time I’ve ever made my own pie crust (which I’d like to give myself a pat on the back about…however, I made some mistakes and feel a little foolish about them). So: first and foremost, read the size on your pans! This seems to be an unfortunately common theme with me (there are many), and I really need to get over this, act like I know what I’m doing, and read my pans. So, I used the incorrectly sized pan, and things with the crust weren’t awesome. In fact, I’d like to blame the browning on the top of the tart (that shouldn’t have happened either, sigh) on the fact that I used the wrong size. And finally, (although depending on your preferences, this might be a bonus, as it was for me), I had extra lemon curd left over, and that was also because the tart was in the wrong sized pan. Hopefully, the lesson (for me, at least) has been learned.
On the other hand, in spite of some of my failings, it was fantastic. I followed the recipe exactly the first time I made it, but in the future (and I’ve written these revisions in), I’m doing some things differently. The crust was delicious – crumbly and fantastic, and the curd was equally excellent. It was incredibly fun to use a new recipe, and experiment with something that was completely different for me – I had a hankering to try this, and a friend with a 20th birthday to celebrate, so it all worked out well. And I got to photograph lemons (!!!).
Lemon Tart (Adapted from Simply Recipes)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Using either a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands (or a combination therein), combine the dry ingredients into the butter, until it comes together in a crumbly mixture. Add the egg, lemon juice, and the vanilla extract, and continue to blend, doing your best to maintain the crumbly texture of the dough. Bring the dough together in a ball, flatten into a disk, and place on a well-floured piece of plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator to chill for an hour. Bring the dough out and allow it to adjust to room temperature for about ten minutes. On a well-floured surface, carefully roll the dough out to a circle about 12″ in diameter.
Place the dough into a greased 10″ pan (preferably a tart pan), and smooth the sides into the pan. Cover with foil, add pie-weights (your roommate’s change collection will do beautifully), and cook at 350 F for about twenty minutes (mine took longer, but it can most likely be attributed to the incorrect pan size). Remove when the edges are barely brown, and allow to cool.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and creme fraiche. Watch carefully and stir often to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once melted, remove the pan from heat. In a separate pan over boiling water (or if you are one lucky duck and own a double boiler), whisk the eggs and egg yolks together. Only heat until warmed, then add to the butter mixture. Add the lemon juice and whisk until combined. Add the sugar and zest and whisk over simmering water, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture is well-combined.
Pour the lemon curd into the tart pan and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, or until the middle of the curd is set (once again, this never happened for me – however, I imagine that it should if it was in the proper pan). Cool for about ten minutes, and then put in the refrigerator to finish.