Friday, September 28, 2012

Tarte au Citron et Coco

Apparently I'm in a French mood. 

Bring on the berets and good cheese.

Remember when a kind co-worker brought pears to the office? Well - another equally awesome co-worker brought in lemons. Win!

Needless to say, my first thought was a souffle. But I've made those before (and will probably make them again with the leftover lemons). 

There's always scones, muffins, Joy the Baker's pancakes....

But they were too breakfasty. I wanted something sweet after dinner! I searched "lemon cookies" on the interwebs and proceeded to spend half a lifetime paging through homespun recipes. But none of those really struck me either! I was getting desperate. 

Finally, there it was. The Tarte au Citron recipe and accompanying tart shell recipe from none other than David Lebovitz. Who gets his recipes from a wonderful French woman named Paule Caillat. Who, in turn, has just gained a spot on the "People I need to meet before I die" list. 

She's got a very interesting tart shell recipe. Which I bet I destroyed by tossing coconut into. This one came out a bit tough, perhaps it needs a tablespoon more butter. Butter fixes most thing!

Start with butter, sugar, water, salt, and oil in an oven-proof bowl. 

Set your oven to 410, and stick the bowl in there while it's pre-heating. After about 15-20 minutes, the butter has melted and just started to brown around the edges. 

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour and coconut. 

Pull the bowl out of the oven (remember your pot holders!) and dump in the mixture of flour and coconut. 

Stir quickly, till it comes together, and then dump into a tart pan.

Work it out to the edges with your fingers, and prick it all over with a fork. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool. 

Time to start the lemon curd filling. Butter, lemon juice, sugar, zest, all into a small saucepan over medium heat. 

Beat up the eggs and yolks in a medium bowl. 

Temper those eggs by whisking in about a third of the lemon mixture. 

Switch the whisk back to the pot, and gently whisk in the tempered egg mixture.

Whisk furiously!! Just keep whisking until it thickens up. 

Pour through a wire mesh strainer, right into the tart shell. Smooth out with your spatula. 

Toss in the oven for 5 minutes, to let it set. 

Serve with an oooh la la!

Tarte au Citron et Coco
Makes 1 tart
Adapted (barely) from David Lebovitz

For the shell (or use your favorite tart shell recipe):
7 tbsp butter (perhaps just throw the whole stick in. That's what I'll do next time)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/2 c. coconut flakes

In an ovenproof bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt. Set your oven to 410 degrees, and while it's preheating stick the bowl in there. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the butter is melted and browned around the edges. Remove from oven. 

In a small bowl, mix the flour and coconut together. Carefully stir into the melted butter mixture. Soon, a ball will form. Move that dough ball to the tart pan and press out with your fingers to fill the pan. Poke with a fork on the bottom, and use the fork to smoosh the dough to the sides of the tart pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

For the curd:
zest of 1 lemon
2/3 c. sugar
6 tbsp butter
1/2 c. lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, zest, and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the yolks. Once the butter is melted, temper the lemon juice into the eggs. Transfer back to the saucepan and whisk furiously until it's thickened. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and into the tart shell. 

Bake for 5 minutes, until set. Serve.

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