“After Will had gone Lee brought out one-third of a lemon pie and cut it in two.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
I make no excuse for my love of lemon desserts. They are my obsession. Bright tangy lemon is the perfect match for the commanding sweetness of white sugar. Cradle these opposing forces in a rich buttery dough and this is my favorite dessert. Add a dimension of intrigue with a different tangy, some crunchy and the sparkling ruby color of pomegranate and then we have a dessert that is phenomenal. If lemon is a temptation, toss the excuses and make this tart.
Tangy Lemon and Pomegranate Tart is adapted from Flo Braker’s, Tangy Lemon Custard Tart with Pomegranate Gelee found in Baking for All Occasions. Reaching for sunny yellow perfection I used my favorite pastry crust recipe and added a hefty sprinkle of cornmeal and lemon zest. Crème fraîche is used in both the pastry and the filling but sour cream could be substituted. The original recipe calls for cream in the filling and no lemon zest. But with tangy as the main descriptor in the recipe title I felt omitting the lemon zest would be a travesty. (Flo Braker’s recipes are flawless but I couldn’t help myself.) Add zest as the love of lemon dictates. Meyer lemons will yield a mellower tart, but be sure to omit tangy from the title of the recipe. The Tangy Lemon Pomegranate Tart is made in a 9-1/2” tart pan with a removable bottom with pomegranate jelly floated across the surface of the cooled tart. The pomegranate can be omitted entirely and this lemon tart still needs no excuses.
|2T||ice cold water|
|1/2t||fine grain sea salt|
|1/2C||crème fraîche or full fat sour cream|
|Tangy Lemon Filling|
|1/2C||crème fraîche or full fat sour cream|
|1pkt/1-1/2t||unflavored powdered gelatin|
|1||lemon, zested with a channel zester|
- To make the pastry mix together the egg yolk and ice cold water, set aside. In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour, cornmeal, lemon zest, sugar and salt. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse a few times until the butter is the size of small coins, mostly dimes and a few pennies. Pour the egg mixture through the feed tube while the food processor is running. The dough will come together in large clumps. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry. Do not over mix. If the dough comes together in a solid mass, it will be over processed and perhaps too moist. Scrape the dough out on a floured work surface. Bring the dough together into a flattened circle. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least one hour.
- With a floured rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough in a circular shape that is at least the size of the tart pan with the dough approximately 1/8” to 1/4” thick. Don’t be dissuaded by any large pieces of butter as you roll out the dough. Add a little flour and keep rolling. Those pieces of butter will make the flaky in your crust. Fold the circle of dough in half and transfer to the 9-1/2” tart pan with a removable bottom. Center the dough in the middle of the tart pan. Unfold the dough back into a circle. Gently push the dough down into the contours of the tart pan without stretching the dough. Trim the dough flush with the edge of the tart pan. Chill the dough lined tart pan for thirty minutes before baking.
- Heat the oven to 375°. Prick the bottom and sides of the tart crust and bake for 15-20 minutes. When ready, the crust edges will turn light brown and the center will no longer be glossy with melted butter. Check the crust after five minutes and prick any areas that have puffed.
- Leave the oven on at 375°. While the crust is baking prepare the Tangy Lemon Filling by whisking together the three eggs. Once the eggs are broken up and uniformly mixed add the sugar. Mix again to combine and then add the lemon juice, zest and crème fraîche. Mix just to combine and pour into the warm tart crust. Bake the tart for 18-20 minutes. The tart will be done when the outside edges are set and the center still jiggles. Set the tart on a rack to cool. After 20 minutes remove the rim of the tart pan.
- To make the Pomegranate Jelly sprinkle the gelatin on top of the pomegranate juice. Let the mixture rest for five minutes to soften. In a small saucepan add the pomegranate mixture and the sugar. Heat until the sugar dissolves, but do not boil. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill. Check the jelly after fifteen minutes and when the mixture has cooled and just begins to set, pour it across the surface of the cooled tart. Take care not to fill the tart too full, leave at least 1/4” of crust above the level of the jelly. Depending on the height of the tart crust there may be extra jelly. Chill the tart for three hours before cutting and serving. Garnish with pomegranate arils and lemon zest.
After rolling out the tart crust I had enough extra pastry left to make small savory hand pies. I stuffed them with peppered goat cheese and lemon thyme. To make the hand pies use the scraps of dough to roll out an equal number of circles for the top and bottoms. I used a circular cutter that was 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Chill the circles for fifteen minutes before filling. Place a teaspoon of goat cheese heaped in the middle of half the pastry circles. Sprinkle the goat cheese with more pepper and a few leaves of thyme. Moisten the outer edge of the filled pastries with egg white and place a second circle of pastry on top. Crimp the edges shut with the tines of a small fork. Brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with pepper. Make a small slash in the center of each pastry and fill with a small piece of lemon thyme. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 12-18 minutes. The pastries will be a shiny golden brown on top and along the bottom edges when finished baking. Serve hot or cold.
I have another buttery recipe to share. I won First Place in the Rumiano Cheese, Holiday Recipe Contest with Buttery Monterey Jack Cookies with Pepper and Cocoa Nibs. The history of Rumiano Dry Monterey Jack Cheese is intriguing. I developed a recipe to compliment the appealing pepper and cocoa coating of the sumptuous and historical cheese. The savory Buttery Monterey Jack Cookies with Pepper and Cocoa Nibs are a perfect accompaniment to other appetizers. Olives, charcuterie, nuts, dried fruit and creamy cheeses will pair well with these charming savory cookies. It’s difficult not to eat the entire batch warm from the oven.
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