Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Relaxing Meyer Lemon and Cheese Tart

Sadly I have no Meyer lemon tree of my own...which is probably a good thing because I would be making lemon curd daily and slathering it on everything in sight. Despite that, everyone I know understands just how much I love Meyers so when the season comes around people start showing up with brown bags full of the sweet little beauties. I cooked up this lovely treat last week for a friends birthday and it was delicious and relatively simple. I say relatively because I love to bake, so I enjoy doing things like stirring constantly for 10 minutes. To me it is like chopping wood or bailing hay, a meditative experience that helps me relax. Plus with 2 small children it's is kinda nice to hold still for a few minutes. I make up a larger batch of lemon curd and then use it for several little treats throughout the week. I do not strain my lemon curd because I like to add some of the lemon zest to the recipe but you could always strain it and then add the zest, but alas I am lazy and I don't really mind the little bits of egg that sometimes appear .For the crust I use an old Martha Stewart recipe for pate sucree. All you have to do is toss a few things in a food processor and you have a perfect crust

lemon curd:

8 egg yolks
1 c. Sugar
almost 3/4 c. Fresh squeezed lemon juice(I prefer Meyers)
zest of 1 lemon
1 stick plus 2 COLD tablespoons SALTED butter cut into small cubes

-Whisk sugar, yolks and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat slowly until well thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in butter i-2 small cubes at a time waiting until the cubes are completely melted and combined before adding more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 week. good luck getting it to last that long.

Here is the Martha Recipe for pate Sucree:

Makes one 11-to 12-inch or two 8-to 9-inch or two 14-by-4-inch crusts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 20 seconds.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.
Instead of forming a disk I simply smoosh the dough into my spring-form pan and about 3/4 of an inch up the sides of the pan. Then I refrigerate the entire thing for a half hour and bake it off at 350 with pie weights/ dry beans until it is all golden brown on the edges. It takes my Wedgewood about 13 minutes to to this, but it is a quirky old Wedgewood so your oven may vary, just pay attention to it, you'll know when it is golden brown and delicious looking.

Cream cheese filling:
I package cream cheese (low fat is ok)
1 c. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. Vanilla

In a stand mixer combine Cream cheese and sugar and mix until well combined. then add in the vanilla and heavy cream and mix with whisk attachment until you have a thick spreadable mixture. If you would like you can also add lemon zest to this recipe, it is amazing either way . Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

To assemble:
Spread a thick layer of the cream cheese filling onto the cooled tart shell,(Eat about 3 spoonfuls of filling) then spread a layer of Lemon curd over the cheese filling and refrigerate until ready to serve. I serve mine just like this but the tart would be delicious if topped with fresh berries or candied lemon slices.
With this dessert I like to serve Some Earl Grey tea but, it would also be delicious with a blueberry tea or even coffee.Enjoy!

Peace and crackers!

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