Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Raspberry Lemon Tart with crumble topping

If you love sweet and sour desserts, you are sure to love this one. This divine tart starts with a thick layer of sweet and flaky shortbread crust, then piled with lemon curd and raspberries, then topped with more crumbled shortbread. Pair it with a cup of coffee and you will have yourself a little slice of heaven.

This recipe comes from The Grand Central Baking Book, from the bakers at the Grand Central Bakery in Portland, Oregon. An inspiring book, one of my favorites. I actually combined two of it's recipes to make this one awesome dessert.
To save myself time and effort, I used a jar of lemon curd that I bought at my local farmers market. One of the vendors there makes small batch jams, relishes, chutneys and lemon curd in the authentic British way. The following recipe tells how to make the lemon curd from scratch. I suggest that you make it in advance; the lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Also, note: the picture above is of an unfinished tart, before I baked it with the crumble topping on. Once it was baked, it was so quickly devoured that I didn't get a photo. Next time.

Serves 8

2 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached organic flour
3/4 tsp sea salt, finely ground
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Lemon Curd:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
4 egg yolks
6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 tsp sea salt, finely ground

1 pint fresh raspberries
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

3-4 Tbsp confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°. Assemble a 10-inch spring-form pan.

For the dough:
Whisk the flour and salt together. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or a hand beater like I did, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light in color and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate. Reduce he speed to low and add the dry ingredients, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl several times. Stop mixing when the dough is still crumbly. This happens quickly; the mixture will look dry and floury, then little clumps will suddenly appear. Don't over mix, or you will end up with a ball of dough that will be difficult to use.

Set aside 1 cup of the dough, then sprinkle the rest (about 2 1/2 cups) on the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Distribute it evenly, without pressing it. Bring the dough slightly up the sides of the pan to contain the lemon curd, then lightly press the dough to hold it in place. Refrigerate the reserved cup of dough. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The crust should be toasty brown.

To make the lemon curd:
Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and egg yolks in a bowl or the top of a double boiler and whisk together immediately; don't delay or the mixture will coagulate. Put the bowl over a pan or the bottom of the double boiler with about an inch of lightly simmering water and whisk continuously until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and, still whisking continuously, cook for about 5 minutes. Add the butter and salt, then use a spatula to stir constantly until the mixture is the consistancy of sour cream, which will happen at about 170°.

Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve. If you won't be using it right away, cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface so the curd doesn't form a skin, and refrigerated for up to one week.

Fill and bake:
Spoon the curd into the baked crust, smoothing with a spatula. Scatter raspberries onto the lemon curd, sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Crumble the reserved 1 cup of dough over the top. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The berries will collapse and the topping will be slightly brown. Immediately dust the warm tart with the confectioners sugar, then let cool slightly before removing the sides of the sprinform pan.

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