While those of us in the northern part of the world are sitting around waiting for spring to come, it's nice to know that lemons are within easy reach. Not only do they perk up any salad, bring out the best in seafood and look cheery on the counter, they're a blessing when you've had your fill with apples and pears. (I love both apples and pears, but it's nice to give them a little time off in the winter, don't you think?)
I've got a bunch of lemon desserts that I turn to this time of year, but one of my favorites is a lemon tart I learned to make when I was working with Daniel Boulud on Cafe Boulud Cookbook It's an elegant tart with a filling made with whole lemons—zest, juice and pulp—so that it's tart, tart, tart, as in really puckery.
Daniel lines the pre-baked sweet tart shell with raspberries before he pours in the lemon mix. I know, raspberries aren't really in season now, at least not where I am, but they're available and, if, unlike me, you were a good saver and tucked some of summer's berries in the freezer, you can have a fully seasonal tart, something both delicious and culinarily correct.
A word on the tart shell. It needs to be partially baked, which means you should bake the crust, covered with foil, for about 25 minutes in a 375°F oven. If you'd like, you can bake it for a few minutes without the foil before you cool it, fill it with the lemon mixture and then finish baking the dessert. You can use my sweet tart dough for this recipe.
Creamy Lemon and Raspberry Tart
Adapted from The Cafe Boulud Cookbook
- For the Crust
- 1 partially baked 9 1/2-inch tart shell (in a fluted tart pan), recipe here
- For the Filling
- 2 medium lemons
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 cups raspberries
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
Finely grate the zest of both lemons; set aside. With a small knife, cut off the top and bottom of each lemon and then carefully cut away the cottony white pith and a tiny bit of flesh from each lemon—the juicy sections of lemon should now be completely exposed. Lay the lemons on their sides and cut each lemon crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; remove the seeds.
Place the lemon slices, eggs, yolks and sugar in the container of a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the reserved zest and the cream. Give the bowl a good rap against the kitchen counter to debubble it—if there are bubbles in the cream now, there will be bubbles in your tart later. (It's not tragic, but neither is it attractive.)
Scatter the berries over the bottom of the crust and pour over the filling. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set in the center. Transfer the tart to a rack and cool to room temperature.
To serve: Cut the tart into 8 wedges and serve as is with some lightly sweetened whipped cream, raspberry coulis or even a spoonful of berry marmalade.