A few years ago, if you served me lemon tart, I would have politely declined. You’d have to scrounge around your fridge or pantry to find me something that was doused in chocolate. With a food blog, however, I find my tastes constantly changing. CONSTANTLY. Not that I’m still not devoted to chocolate but I find myself exploring other flavors. Suddenly, the horizon has widened and it’s looking delicious.
This lemon tart is the result of having some of the best friends ever. Some send me Le Creuset pots for my birthday, some bring me back lemons! I’ve often wanted to make lemon based desserts but I could not get around to it because while they aren’t freely available, they are also horribly expensive when they are (500 INR/9 USD/7 Euros for 4!).
Today, I made a summer-in-a-bite lemon tart with a perfectly crumbling shortcrust base. Take this recipe to be a blueprint of sorts – you can add ground (but blanched) almonds to the crust, add a layer of white chocolate ganache to offset the tarty lemon flavor or add some spiked (Grand Marnier?) whipped cream on top or just simply serve with some really good vanilla ice-cream. Either way, I think you need to make this and see for yourself which way you like it. The advantage being, its so easy to make! Everything goes in the food processor (individually, for the crust and filling) and is baked and you have a sunny tart on your hands. If you find yourself short on time, a biscuit base would also serve well. The cream cheese gives it lightness and depth, the crust dutifully crumbles and the lemons also play their part. If you think it might be too tart, add or serve it with something to offset the citrusy punch. I loved the zing but to others it was a little too much. I’d suggest tasting it at the filling stage and deciding.
P.S – Adding vodka to the crust seems unconventional but I read somewhere that it really helps with the crumbly base. I’d like to think it did! For other pie tips, see this post.
Source: Joy of Baking
For shortcrust base:
1 cup (120 g) flour
1/3rd cup (35 g) icing sugar
1/2 cup (113 g) butter, cold and cubed
2 tbs Vodka
1. Add all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, except the Vodka. Pulse for a few seconds and finally add the vodka – just enough so it comes together. Dump all the contents onto the pie plate and with wet hands, press evenly onto the plate.
2. Freeze for at least 30 to 40 minutes or up to a day before (thaw in the fridge for a few hours before baking) – don’t skip this because it really helps with the dough from shrinking.
3. Finally, when you’re ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 220 deg C. Place the pie plate on a baking tray, covered with a silicon mat. Pierce the dough with the tines of a fork at even intervals. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown. Leave it to cool. If you can store it correctly, you can make the crust up to a day before.
For the Lemon Cream Filling:
5 oz (140 g) Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons – little tip – heat the lemons in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing – it makes it easier to juice)
1 tbs lemon zest
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C. In the bowl of a food processor, add cream cheese and pulse till its creamy.
2. In a small bowl, add lemon zest and sugar and rub together with your fingers till fragrant and yellow. Add to cream cheese and pulse again. Add eggs and pulse. Finally, add the lemon juice and pulse to combine.
3. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes till set. Chill for at least an hour. Serve cold with sweetened whipped cream or icecream!