Cook in the Moment: Lemon Curd Tart

Lemon Curd Tart (c)2012

One of my unofficial resolutions this year is to bake more fruit tarts. Year after year I find myself wishing I had baked with the strawberries of spring, the peaches of summer, and autumn’s glorious apples. Time passes so quickly, and I regret not celebrating fresh fruit at the peak of its season. It may seem silly to worry about such things, but I believe investing precious spare time in baking a fruit tart slows time down a little. Eating fresh fruit out of hand is a true pleasure, but it’s a fleeting one. Baking a tart is a ritual beginning with selecting the fruit, composing the pastry and blind-baking it, filling the tart shell and finishing it off in the oven. We plan each step then we wait as fruit bubbles and crust caramelizes under the heat of the oven, filling the kitchen with its tantalizing aroma. To me, a fruit tart embodies hospitality. If you’ve got a tart and a pot of tea, then you’ve got a party waiting to happen. For my first fruit tart of the year, I’ve baked Martha Stewart’s Rustic Meyer Lemon Tart, which is actually based on a recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts. I made the tart with Meyer lemons and then with regular lemons- both variations were delicious.


10 Ways Tuesday: Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd (c)2012

I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with lemon curd during spring:

1.  Baked Lemon Tart

To me, sweet buttery pastry, rolled out and baked into a tart pan, filled with smooth-as-silk lemon curd and baked till caramelized is the perfect spring dessert. There is nothing more satisfying than a bright, sunny lemon tart after a beautiful spring lunch. This week I’ll be featuring a Martha Stewart recipe for Rustic Meyer Lemon Tart here on the blog. The beauty of a curd based tart is that it keeps well (3 days in the fridge and still delicious), can be made ahead of time, and travels easily. It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks.

2.  Not-Baked Lemon Meringue Tart

The not-baked lemon tart is more elegant and pristine when compared with the loveably rustic Baked Lemon Tart above. Recipes can be found everywhere for a baked tart shell filled with lemon curd, topped with berries or fluffy meringue. My favorite is the recipe for little Lemon-Almond Meringue Tarts from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. I’m intrigued by the recipe because of the almond theme which carries through the crust (ground amaretti cookies, sliced almonds, amaretto liqueur) to the browned meringue topping (amaretto liqueur). Who knew almonds and lemons were such a winning combination?


Ingredient of the Week: Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd (c)2012

With the arrival of spring and her warm, breezy days, I begin to crave the sunny, tart flavor of lemons. Easter weekend awakened my sweet tooth, and I’m in the mood to bake. Flowering trees hold the promise of fresh fruit, but it’s not time yet for the juicy stone fruits of summer. That’s okay, because we’ve got lemons to get us through. Here at la Domestique, we’re making lemons into bright yellow jars of buttery lemon curd destined for meringue pies, tarts, cakes, or simply slathered over toast and served with a cup of tea.

Lemon curd is a mixture of eggs, sugar, butter, and lemons (juice and zest) stirred in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat until thickened and spreadable. Kept in a clean jar, lemon curd will last for a week in the fridge, or process jars of lemon curd in a water bath and store for a month in the pantry (refrigerate once opened). In The Craft of Baking, Karen Demasco writes, “Lemon curd is most often thought of as a tart filling. Reconsider it as more of an all-purpose ingredient, however, and the possibilities for enjoying this tangy topping quickly grow.” This week at la Domestique, we’ll explore the many ways to use lemon curd in sweet spring treats.