Sorry guys, it’s just been such a hectic month for me, catching up with work and with friends, getting ready for one of my closest friend’s wedding last weekend, and Dan’s visit. Things are settling down after almost two months of craziness.
I found time this week to make this lemon curd tart. It’s summer and I need my blast of citrus-y goodness. We had such a good week of sun, but now it’s drizzling outside and a cool breeze is coming through the back patio windows. I have a cup of hot tea and a slice of lemon curd tart topped with sugared berries…I’ll say this Sunday is going well.
I’ve been meaning to make something from the Ottolenghi: The Cookbook since I bought it in May (in May!!!). It arrived a couple of days before my vacation and it just wasn’t going to happen then. Woe.
Deeba introduced me to this lovely cookbook when she gave me the recipe for these successful macarons and after that, I just kept thinking about getting it. It’s easy to get obsessed about these things, and Amazon.com is surely making a nice profit out of my compulsive Amazon Prime buying fingers. Ha!
The second recipe I’m testing from the book is for lemon curd. I used to think that making curd is tedious. It conjures up memories of my grandmother making “ube halaya” (purple yam jam dessert in the Philippines) that requires continuously standing/stirring in front of the stove for a good hour or so. I wouldn’t dream of it in the summer, especially with the 2nd floor of the house (where the kitchen is) feeling like a greenhouse. Nope, there’s no A/C here.
When I browsed Ottolenhi’s recipe for lemon curd, it seemed easier than the key lime curd recipe I used for my key lime meringue pie. After all, it didn’t need a double boiler setup, plus almost all the ingredients are already mixed together before heating. I thought I just had a free pass to a quick vacation!
Summer Quick Tip #1: Choose recipes that require less oven face time. Look for mix-all-in-one-go types.
When it comes to the crust, I like a good crust, but there was no way I was turning on the oven. I sought out my go-to graham cracker crust recipe (minus the lemon zest) to replace a sweet pastry crust.
Summer Quick Tip #2: Try a no-bake crust.
I couldn’t be happier with the results: less work for me, but the lemon curd tart still turned out irresistibly zesty and the graham crust was amazing with it. Those who don’t like it sour tarts beware, the lemon-y goodness could knock you out. :) Kind of. When you add whipping cream on top, it will be fine. For me, sugared blackberries complement it perfectly.
The first bite is god-awful. I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone! :-)
I’m kidding of course. It’s pretty damn good!
The lemon curd requires 6 hours at the very least to firm up, but it won’t stand up well until you leave it in the fridge overnight. If you want to serve it as fast as you could, do this little trick I do for anything that needs a quick setting:
Summer Quick Tip #3: Add gelatin to curd (or no-bake cheesecake) to serve it in under 30 minutes, instead of waiting for a long chilling time.
It might not be the most elegant solution, but it does work and will satisfy most dessert-loving guests. It will also keep the hostess (who forgot to prepare her tart the previous night) stress-free. If you have family like me who simply cannot wait for dessert to be served, gelatin is a godsend.
And with that, I bid you a good summer week! It’s going to be rainy here, but I’m welcoming this break from the heat. Yeah, yeah, welcome to the weather up here. :)
LEMON CURD TART
1. Prepare the Graham Cracker Crust recipe (below) for an 8-inch round tart.
2. Cook the lemon curd (recipe below). After it cools to room temperature, pour on top of the graham cracker crust recipe. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours. It is best if you keep in the fridge overnight to let it firm up well.dfd
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST (w/o lemon zest)
Ingredients (Makes one 8-inch cheesecake)
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. You can use just one sheet of foil to cover the entire pan, just make sure the raised sides go up to at least 1.5 inches.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add butter and mix until all the crumbs are moistened and a thick, crumbly paste forms. Pour graham crumb paste onto the lined springform pan. Level and press to the bottom of the pan using a rubber spatula and neatly taper at the edge. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press, 2008)
- 200 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice from 4-6 lemons
- grated zest of 4 lemons
- 200 grams caster (superfine) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks from 4 large eggs
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1. Save for roughly half the butter, mix all the ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat and whisk constantly. Once the curd starts to thicken and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat. The curd will come to a boiling point when large bubbles go to the surface. Whisk vigorously for another minute and then remove from the heat.
2. Add the remaining butter a few pieces at a time and whisk until they have melted. Pour the curd through a sieve and into a medium bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it cool to room temperature. Covering the surface will prevent the curd from forming a dry layer at the top.
Notes: Curd will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- granulated sugar
- berries of your choice
Wash fresh berries and wipe it a little, leaving a bit of moisture on it. Roll on sugar on a plate until the desired amount of sugar crystals on the fruit is achieved. You can easily wipe the excess of with a paper towel. Top on your tarts, or pop in your mouth!
QUICK-SETTING CURD FIX
- 7-gram pack of gelatin crystals (Knox recommended)
- 1/2 cup water, divided
Mix gelatin crystals and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and allow to bloom for 5 minutes. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup water for 30 seconds in the microwave on high and pour into the gelatin bloom. Stir to dissolve, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Mix into to the lemon curd using a hand mixer. Assemble the tart chill in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how firm you would like it to be.
Note: If you are going to serve the tart/curd the next day, note that it will be quite firm. For this reason, you might want to just add 1/4 cup of the prepared liquid gelatin.