Lemon Tart, or when life gives you lemons

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast weekend we spent with our friends Stephan and Alexandra close to my hometown in Buggingen. It was a nice and relaxing weekend with good food (Stephan cooked a delicious organic coq au vin and we went to the small market in Müllheim offering great local goods and fantastic artisan cheese). Before we went I realized we had plenty of limes and lemons which might not make it over the weekend. Therefore I decided to prepare a lemon and lime tart. My recipe is inspired be the mouthwatering lemon meringue tart of Fanny Zanotti presented in her Paris Pastry Club baking book. In the beginning it sounds a bit crazy to prepare shortbread and sponge but the combination is worth the effort. The star of the dish is of course the smooth lemon curd, which is slightly different to the one Tina posted a while ago. As our son Max was helping to prepare the cake one of the 10 words he now speaks is “Zeste” the German word for zest.

 

Short Bread

  • 100 g butter, diced
  • 40 g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk from a hard boiled egg, finely grated
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 100 g all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs tapioca starch
  • ½ tsp Fleur de sel

Lemon Curd

  • 200 g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 180 g freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
  • 300 g unsalted butter at roomtemperature, cubed

Lemon Sponge

  • 120 g ground almonds
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbs tapioca starch
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

Decoration

  • Some berries (it looks nice and healthy)

 For the shortbread cream the butter, icing sugar, egg yolk and lemon zest with an electric mixer. Add the flours and salt and mix until you have a nice dough. Roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper until it is around 4 mm thick. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 h.

To make the lemon curd, rub the sugar and lemon zest together between ypur fingers in a large heatproof bowl until it is moist and aromatic (the smell is addictive). Whisk in the eggs followed by the lemon juice. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring constantly, with a spatula. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 85 C. As soon as it reaches temperature, remove from the heat and allow cooling down to 60 C. Gradually incorporate the butter, whisking well after each addition. Afterwards blitz the curd using an immersion blender for 8-10 minutes, which is important for the smooth texture.

Preheat the oven to 160 C and generously butter a 24 cm tart ring.

Lift the shortbread onto a baking tray, remove the top piece of paper and bake until golden brown (20 minutes). Remove from the oven and immediately press the tart ring onto the shortbread to cut through. Leave to cool slightly, then trim the excess shortbread, leaving the tart ring in place. While the shortbread base is cooling down, make the lemon sponge. Mix all ingredients except the lemon juice, in a large bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice and transfer the sponge dough onto the shortbread. Bake for 8 minutes, and then cool down completely. Afterwards add the lemon curd on top and decorate with some berries. Enjoy the too-smooth-to –be-true texture of the curd and the crunchy shortbread!

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