Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lemon Tart oh so yummy and Gluten Free

First off, there are no tart pictures because by the time I thought to take a picture, the tart was GONE!!!

This is something I had been wanting to bake for such a long time, lemon and sunny. Sunny looking food to chase the cold weather away. That didn't work by the way, as we are having below normal cold and some snowy type weather around us. Regardless of the weather the sunny lemon tart lifted my mood and tasted damn good.

When I want to make something different or new I always do a Google search to see how other people make it. I also check with Cooks Illustrated, the ultimate authority on cooking. That said, I always tweak a recipe! I can't help it, even though I tell myself not to I always do.
Something that helped send me on the path of Lemon Tart was a recent article in Martha Stewart Living. A friend showed me an article in the April issue, Desserts without Flour. This was about Passover, not gluten free. Gluten free isn't as pretty sounding as Desserts without Flour! Regardless of the way the article is presented, there was a lovely tart crust in there using coconut.

One issue I have been having with tarts and pies is what crust to use? A gluten free pie crust turns out quite lovely actually. Without the gluten the crust doesn't get tough at all and that is a wonderful thing. Tender, flaky, crisp, all things you want a pie crust to be. A tart though doesn't normally use a pie crust although I wouldn't rule it out. Coconut is a very good thing in the gluten free diet and I assumed it would make a good crust but I wasn't sure on the method.

The crust recipe in Living answered the question for me, use egg whites to hold it together. I am assuming that much of this recipe relates to it being used for Passover, which I don't have to hold to and I will also admit I don't know much about. The crust tastes similar to a coconut macaroon which in my book is a fine thing. Yes of course I tweaked the recipe, when don't I?

Now that I have the crust figured out I had to find a filling recipe. I looked in the new Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan , then I checked an old favorite of mine;
The Dessert Lovers Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky. Both of these books have wonderful recipes in them but neither one was exactly what I was looking for so back to Google and Cooks Illustrated.

Through my Google search I found a blogger with the same sunny spring inspiration of lemon tart. The Modern Apron has a lovely lemon tart pictured and it sounded so yummy. Basically I went with the Cooks Illustrated recipe because I wasn't looking to use a lot of dairy in my tart. But of course I tweaked it, must you ask?

I cannot link you straight to the Cooks Illustrated recipe because it is a pay to view site. Cooks Illustrated doesn't have advertising paying for the magazine or the site to keep it afloat, it is supported through its readership. I have gotten the magazine on and off again over the years and I have kept every single issue along with the website membership.

Why do I use Cooks Illustrated as much as I do? Here is what they have to say about themselves; ‘America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.’

Here is the recipe with my tweaks:

Coconut-Almond Crusted Lemon Tart

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
Preheat oven to 325°
Combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, salt and melted butter. In a medium size bowl, combine the coconut and almonds. Pour the egg white mixture onto the coconut and almonds stirring until well combined.
Spray a tart pan (or use a pie pan if that is what you have) with gluten free Pam, press the crust evenly into the pan. The crust is slightly sticky, you can work quickly using the back of a spoon to press it in place or use dampened fingers.
Pre-bake the tart crust 13 minutes, just long enough for it to set up and start turning a light brown.

Lemon filling:

7 egg yolks (2 egg yolks are leftover from the crust)
2 whole eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice this was the juice of 3 large lemons
zest from one lemon, (I use a fine grater for this as I don't want pieces of lemon zest)
pinch table salt
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar until combined. Add lemon juice, zest and pinch of salt, cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Some people prefer a wooden spoon but I love love love those heat proof spatulas. The lemon filling (curd) will start thicken at about 5 minutes and reach 170° on an instant read thermometer. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cream.

Here you are supposed to strain through a fine mesh stainless steel strainer but I SKIP THIS STEP unless I can see chunks of curdled egg that needs to be strained. I find this step to be just another way to dirty up more dishes unless like I said you need to strain it cause it chunked or the bottom stuck and you have little bits coming up.

Pour into your still warm tart shell and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 45 minutes then remove the sides of your tart pan, you may need to run a knife or small spatula around the edge before you do this.

We ate ours cold out of the fridge with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. Tart and sweet and creamy and oh so yummy. Enjoy

Baking Note:

When one wants lemon zest, many people use a zester which I do not like. The pieces of zest from this do not taste as good to me as lemon zest from a fine grater or a rasp. I don't currently own a rasp but it is on my list of things to obtain, so even though I linked you to a rasp on Amazon I cannot vouch for that rasp , I just wanted you to know what one is! Currently I use the fine grater portion of my cheese grater and NO it isn't the best tool for the job.

1 comment:

Elle said...

I found your recipe by searching for gluten-free desserts; we spent Thanksgiving with some family members who are gluten-free and I wasn't sure what to bake. I made your lemon tart, and it turned out fabulously! Thank you :)