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Lemon Curd Tart

Lemon Curd Tart
Acidic ingredients, such as citrus juice, tomatoes, vinegar, wine and many vegetables, will react with certain metals, including aluminum or cast iron. Although the reaction is harmless, it may turn a mixture gray or leave behind a metallic aftertaste. The same reaction occurs when eggs are cooked in aluminum or cast-iron pans. Therefore, recipes that include these ingredients, such as lemon curd and pastry cream, call for the use of nonaluminum pans. Stainless-steel and enamel-lined pans are excellent choices.

Ingredients:

  • 1 rolled-out round of basic tart dough (see
     related recipe at left)
  • 3 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained (about 6
     large lemons)
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut
     into 1⁄4-inch cubes
  • Sweetened whipped cream for piping

Directions:

Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking. Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.

Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Continue to bake until the shell is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

In a nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the butter melts and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a coarse-mesh sieve placed over a bowl.

Spread the curd evenly in the fully baked tart shell and refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 3 hours. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip, pipe whipped cream around the edge of the tart. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, let the sides fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving, to take the chill off. Makes one 9 1/2-inch tart; serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).