I’ve been procrastinating posting all day due to the on-going Hurricane Sandy drama. The wind is howling outside of my windows like Catherine summoning Heathcliff, and the photos from beach areas along the Eastern Seaboard where I’ve spent many sunny summer days, show so much damage to these vulnerable environments. This is in stark contrast from this past Thursday’s second annual blogger Pie Fest, known as #PiePartyGE on Twitter, where I gathered along with other amazing food folks to exercise our pastry making talents. The photo above is just a small sample of the sweet treats which we all sampled.
Lemon Tart – International Culinary Center style
My contributions to the evening’s event were two pies, one sweet and one savory. The sweet one was a Lemon-Lime-Coconut Tart that’s a riff on the classic French Lemon Tart that I’ve kind been making recently in my culinary course. I started off with the same shortcrust-like pie shell base – called a pâte sablée or “sandy dough” – that we’d used in class and then changed up some of the leftover filling that I’d made to add the lime and coconut components. I’ve had this flavor combination noodling around in my brain for a while, so being apartment-bound during this storm was the perfect excuse to try to pull it all together.
This tart is prepared in two separate steps. First the tart shell is baked and then the custard mixture is poured into the cooled-down pasty shell. The whole thing is then baked in the oven, with the pre-toasted coconut added about 5-10 minutes before the tart comes out of the oven to add a little bit of crunch and texture to the final product. The taste is more citrusy with the coconut just an added touch. It can be omitted completely for those who don’t like it without changing the tart too much.
I brought the tart to the party, nervously hoping that it would find a positive audience among my blogging peers. When I looked over at one point, it didn’t seem to be flying off of the table like other ones were. Then, I saw people putting slivers of it into their take-away containers, so hopefully they enjoyed it when they got home. I did manage to get a photo of the remains of the tart at the end of the evening. Judging from these scraps, I think it might have been well-received, which means I’ll be keeping this recipe in my files to share at other events!
Prep Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including baking time)
Serving Size: 8 people or one hurricane-house-bound person
1/2 c. unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
one pinch Salt
1 1/3 c. Cake Flour, sifted
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. shredded Coconut, lightly toasted*
3/8 c. White Sugar
2 oz. Heavy Cream
Juice and Zest of one Lemon
Juice and Zest of one Lime
Juice of one Lemon
Mix together softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk. Add the pinch of salt and sifted cake flour together and combine with the butter mixture. If the dough is too crumbly, you can add a few drops of ice water, but it should be possible to pull it together without it. Shape the dough into a ball, pat it into a circle, cover it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On a lightly-floured board or between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll out the dough to fit the size and shape of the tart pan you will be using and to about a width that is the size of the space between the tines of a fork. I made this dish in a 4 x 13 x 1-inch tart pan that looks like this one. This dough is kind of forgiving, so if you end up with some places where it cracks or where there are holes, you can patch it together before baking it.
With a fork, lightly poke holes on the bottom of the tart without going all the way through the dough. Place parchment paper on top of the unbaked shell and fill the shell with baking beans before putting it into the oven to pre-bake. Bake for 15 minutes with the beans and then remove the parchment paper and the beans and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the shell is lightly golden.
The edges will have started to become light brown. Remove it from the oven and let it cook on a rack while you make the filling. Brush lightly with a thin coating of the beaten egg (you won’t use very much of the egg). This is to keep the filling from seeping through the bottom of the tart when it bakes.
To make it easy to pour into the tart shell, use a container or measuring cup to hold the filling ingredients. Lightly beat together the eggs. Add in sugar and heavy cream. Then, whisk in lemon and lime zest and lemon and lime juice until the mixture is smooth.
Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the tart shell on the baking rack and pour the filling into the shell while it is sitting on the rack so that you don’t run the risk of spilling all the filling while trying to put it into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the outside of the filling has set.
Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the tart and continue to back for another 5-10 minutes until the the filling doesn’t move when you wiggle the tart. Remove from the oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes. This should be served room temperature. You can store it in the refrigerator, but bring it to room temperature before serving it.
*Kitchen Witch Tip:
I’ve found for baking things like this tart or Magic Cookie Bars, that it helps to toast the coconut prior to including it in the baked dish. That way, it retains a crisp, crunchy texture and develops a golden brown color. To do this, spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking tray and put it into a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven to cook for about 10-15 minutes.