Lemon Berry Tart
A couple of weeks ago we held a goodbye party for Betty and David, good friends. She’s American, he’s Israeli, and together they’re the perfect mix, just like this pink lemon berry tart combination. After about a decade living here, they decided to move to chilly Boston. They met and got married here, and I had the honor to make them their wedding cake. It was a three-tier tres leches cake, soaked in three different kinds of milk. One of them (evaporated milk) doesn’t exist here and so it had to make it all the way here from the States just for this divine cake. I have to recreate this recipe and put it up here one day.
It’s always sad when friends leave for a new adventure in a faraway land. Every time that happens, I find myself in the kitchen, creating all sorts of baked goods for the departing friends: mega-macarons filled with ruby chocolate and berry diplomat cream, macarons filled with pistachio ganache, a pistachio tart with wine poached pears, a banana cake with pecan crumble and finally a lemon berry tart. I’ll probably write about most of them here, but I had to start with this tart.
It’s one of my favorites from baking school, only with a pink twist. The initial plan was to combine lemon with raspberries, but raspberry season hadn’t started here yet. I tried to combine it with strawberries instead, but the flavor was too subtle. In the end, I tried it with a frozen berry mix. The sourness that burst out of them worked perfectly with the lemon. As an added bonus, I got a lemon berry tart with a pretty cool pink color.
Only after the fact did I realize that I already made a little version of this tart once: lemon berry tartlets. At the time I even had an abundance of fresh berries in the fridge that just waited for me to put my hands on them. It’s funny to see how sometimes you work repeatedly without even noticing. It’s even nicer to realize that you can manage without fresh berries, which is pretty rare and expensive here. So, I made the filling from frozen berries. I decorated this lemon berry tart with fresh strawberries and a few frozen blueberries that I thawed. Oh well, and I added a bit of pistachios. Just a bit.
175 g flour
20 g almond powder
65 g powdered sugar
2 g salt (½ tsp)
Zest from 1 lemon
100 g cold butter (cut into cubes)
45 g eggs
50 g berries
50 g water
Lemon berry cream
65 g lemon juice
50 g berry puree
155 g sugar
120 g eggs
Zest from 1 lemon
200 g soft butter (at room temperature)
Fresh mixed berries
A square ring, 18 cm long and 2.5 cm high
A hand blender
Put flour, almond powder, powdered sugar, salt, lemon zest and butter cubes in the mixer bowl and keep in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Remove from fridge. Using the paddle attachment, start mixing at low-medium speed until the batter reaches sand-like consistency. Make sure the butter chunks are as small as possible at the end of the process without melting the butter.
Add the eggs all at once and keep mixing at medium speed until the dough starts to form but is not yet completely uniform. Remove dough parts from the bowl and combine. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Roll out the dough a little bit. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour. (It’s always better to prepare the dough in advance, the dough keeps for up to a week in the fridge and for about two-three months in the freezer.)
When the dough is stiff and cold, remove the plastic wrap. In a cool room, flour the work surface, place the dough on top and dust it with flour as well. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Keep turning the dough throughout and make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Roll out the dough to a 3-4 mm thickness.
Please note (!) If at any point the dough starts to soften, put it back in the fridge until it is stiff again.
Fonçage: Lightly butter the inner side of the baking ring so that the dough sticks to it. Place the ring gently on top of the dough and cut a larger square around the ring. Cut the corners of the dough as seen in the picture above. Place the ring on a parchment paper and place the dough gently on top of it. Lift the edges of the dough, gently push the rest of the dough down and attach the edges to the sides of the ring, starting from the bottom of the ring to the top. Gently press down on the sides so that the corners at the bottom form a right angle. (It’s not the end of the world if the dough gets torn accidentally. Just attach the sides that have been torn apart and move on). Go over the top of the ring with a sharp knife and remove the excess dough.
Blind baking: Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork and keep in the freezer until the dough is stiff again (about half an hour). Preheat the oven to 160 ºC (320 ºF). When the desired temperature is reached, remove the crust from the freezer and set it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Line the crust with parchment paper. Fill the crust with pie weights or dry chickpeas (don’t forget the corners). Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 17 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently remove the parchment paper containing the pie weights (be careful not to break the crust in the process). Put the crust back in the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the crust begins to brown. Set aside to cool.
Brush the top of the crust against a flat mesh sieve to straighten the edges and give it a cleaner, sharper look.
Put the berries in a saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Mash some berries with the spatula while stirring.
Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Transfer it into a measuring pitcher and then grind it with a hand blender to a smoother texture. Filter the pits using a sieve. Weigh the amount needed straight into a clean saucepan.
Lemon berry cream
Add lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest and eggs in the saucepan that contains the berry puree and whisk. Start warming on medium heat, while whisking all along to prevent the egg yolk from congealing. Once it starts to bubble, remove from heat and pour the mixture through a sieve into a measuring pitcher.
As soon as the temperature reaches 50 °C (120 °F), add the soft butter (gradually but quickly) and mix well. Grind with a hand blender to a uniform consistency. Pour the cream immediately into the crust almost to the edge. Keep in the fridge for about an hour or two to let the cream set.
Remove the tart from the fridge. Decorate the top with fresh berries, lemon zest and chopped pistachios. Keep the lemon berry tart in the fridge up to 2 days.Yum
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