Monday, June 15, 2009

Lemon Berry Tart

I escaped last Saturday to Bellevue Berry Farm with the goal of picking more strawberries than I knew what to do with. It only took an hour or so before I was ready to leave; my box of red berries weighed in at four pounds--a respectable amount I thought. But at home I couldn't fit them all in the fridge or even in one container. In anticipation of welcoming 30 to 40 people to the apt within a few hours, I was forced to ban the beer to an oversized cooler that has been taking up space on our back porch. All went well and I was able to escape from people for a few hours before being bombarded by them once again (though I was unable to elude a small army of chiggers at the strawberry patch). The berries were perfect though. The juice colored my hands red and they tasted wholy unlike the giant grocery store strawberries. I know those strawberries are beautiful and pink and can be quite juicy, but when comparing to these small, organically grown berries, they seem quite abnormal. How, in God's name, did those berries get to be that size? They're berries. And out of season, they taste like styrofoam. These berries taste like summer, perfect combination of the sweet attributes of a blueberry and the tartness of a raspberry. I've been chomping the berries plain and adding them to my bowl of Kashi granola cereal every morning. I have an eye for making some jam--just to torture myself. But first things first: a tart.
Now that I've mastered the art of the crust, I feel an urge to flex my pastry-making muscles. I loaded up on berries (black, rasp and blue) at the grocer for the perfect summer dessert. The tart I ended up with was absolutely devine.
The lemon curd was just tart enough to cut the sweetness of the berries. And the crust was perfectly crumbly. Even the roofer admired the pastry. And crusts aside, it was shockingly easy.
Lemon Berry Tart: (lemon curd courtesy of David Lebovitz) I followed this recipe for the tart crust. 6 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup lemon juice 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 2 large egg yolks 1 9-inch already baked tart shell 2 cups assorted berries powdered sugar for dusting (optional) In a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until sugar has dissolved.
Pre-heat oven to 350. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and egg yolks. Pour half a cup of the warm lemon mixture into the bowl with the eggs and whisk to heat the eggs. You want the eggs to be warm so they don't scramble in the sauce pan. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan with the lemon-butter sauce. Stir continuously until curd thickens (it will be nearly bubbling on the side, some chunks may develop, which is fine, it just means it's time to remove it from the heat). Immediately remove from heat once it has thickened. Pour the curd through a strainer onto the already-baked tart shell, pushing any chunks through the strainer with a spatula. Smooth the top of the tart and pop it in the oven for 5 minutes to set. Remove and let cool. Top with berries and powdered sugar.


Craig said...

you are brilliant.

Megan said...

that top picture is AWEsome.