Here’s a recipe for a lemon tart with fresh fruit. I usually garnish this with either blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. It all depends on whatever is in season or looks the best at the store.
There are really two parts to making a tart. One is the dough and shell. The other is the filling – in this case it’s lemon curd. For the dough, I stumbled upon a good, simple recipe on the Martha Stewart Show. I wish I could remember who was the guest that day, but I just happened write down the recipe and it works great. Thank you.
I initially started with a basic lemon curd recipe but in this version we will add some agar to thicken it. Agar is made from kelp and is sort of a vegetarian gelatin with a few special properties. It is a common ingredient in Japanese confections. I got the idea to use agar in lemon curd from an online cookbook edited by Norwegian gastro-food blogger Martin Lersch. Thank you.
Ingredients (makes about 8 , 3 1/8 inch tartlets)
flour……. 1 1/2 cups
confectioner’s sugar……. 1/3 cup
butter …….. 13 tablespoons
egg yolk…… 1
heavy cream……. 1 tablespoon
fresh lemon juice ….. 3/4 cup
sugar …… 1/2 cup
confectioners sugar ….. 1/4 cup
eggs…….. 3 medium sized
butter …… 6 tablespoons
agar …. 4 grams
1. Make the dough. Combine flour and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and add gradually to flour-sugar mixture while mixing with a pastry cutter or fork until butter, flour and sugar are evenly mixed.
2. Add cream and egg yolk and lightly knead dough. When the dough reaches an even consistency, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Lightly press dough into a lightly oiled tart pan and place back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. You can also freeze the shell at this point for use on a later date. Doughs freeze very well.
4. Now place shells on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 F or until golden brown. For best results, I recomend using pie weights like the ones shown above. This will help maintain the shape of the tart shell while baking.
5. Remove shells from the oven and set aside to cool for several minutes and then remove shells from tart pans.
5. Make the lemon curd using a double boiler. If you don’t have one, don’t buy one, just use a metal bowl over a sauce pan filled with water. Heat lemon juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
6. Lightly beat egg yolks and confectioners sugar together.
7. Bring lemon juice to a near boil and add agar powder, stir until dissolved.
8. Slowly add egg yolks while mixing. Cook lemon over medium heat for several minutes until mixture is near boiling.
9. Slowly add butter and stir.
10. Remove from heat and cool over ice and then chill in the refrigerator.
11. Once the lemon curd chilled, fill tart shells and garnish with fruit and enjoy.