The first time I tried to make a tart the crust melted into a complete and utter mess and the cream that was supposed to go inside turned rock hard on the outside and raw on the inside. It was a failure of epic proportions. Undeterred I set out to give it a go again, this time putting together a dessert for Memorial Day. This time I felt down-right June Cleaver-ish. I knew that going to Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for pãte sablée wouldn’t let me down. As for the filling – I didn’t have enough eggs to do a traditional lemon curd. But thanks to my new vegan friend (Hi Christina!) from Eat, Write, Retreat I figured there must be an egg-less curd online. I was right, and I really think it was better than a curd with eggs.
I will never buy a tart crust again. This was easy and aside from the time that it needs to chill out in the fridge – pretty low intensity. The flavor is really amazing. It’s got a bit of a bite but is just the right softness and density – cookie meets pie. I should add Dorie’s recipe uses powdered sugar, I used regular sugar because apparently I can’t read. Good news – still turned out awesome. The family declared they would like to just eat the crust alone – but there wasn’t even a crumb of the tart left by the time we went home.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
Directions (from Global Gourmet)
Cut the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
To fully bake the crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. (I dislike lightly baked crusts, so I often keep the crust in the oven just a little longer. If you do that, just make sure to keep a close eye on the crust’s progress—it can go from golden to way too dark in a flash.) Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.
To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.
Lemon Curd (from Group Recipes)
- 1/4 c. cold water
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 3 Tbs. cornstarch
- 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- In a saucepan, whisk together water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When mixture thickens.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Pour mixture into a non-metallic bowl and add lemon juice and zest, mixing well.
- Allow to cool and thicken at room temperature.
- Can be refrigerated, covered, for several days. Before serving, beat thoroughly to a smooth, spreadable consistency.
To bring together – allow crust to cool, and then spread lemon curd on top. Arrange strawberries in an attractive pattern or toss a bunch on haphazard! Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.