Strawberry & lemon curd tart

I’ve learned that life throwing lemons your way, no matter how much we try to avoid them, is inevitable. It sucks, but it is what it is. Usually, I try to sway away as much as I can from these sour punches. I do everything I can to not feel their astringency, even if it means sacrificing the truth about how I really feel. Why do we try to prolong this and dodge what we know is coming? Because we don’t like the sour, we don’t like to feel that.

What’s great is that I’ve also learned that after these trying times, come beautiful, sweet times. Times where you grow in places you never thought you would before. You become capable of things that were once impossible. You learn the most about yourself and you can really be honest. You gotta go through the lemony part of it, but just for a little bit. It too will pass. They always say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and that’s totally true. But I say make this lemon curd tart instead.

I’m not a dessert repeat offender, ever. But that doesn’t mean my mom can’t be. Maybe I push her to be one, because of how good this is. This dessert has been a protagonist throughout my family life, and for good reason. The tart dough is perfect, and so is the lemon curd. Have you made lemon curd before? It’s totally easy. It’s just lemon juice and zest, cooked with eggs and sugar and butter, and what you’re left with is a thick, sweet, pungent custard that could be eaten on absolutely anything. But it’s best laid in a tart shell, with strawberries scattered on top. In this precise form.

Embrace times of sour with full force, and know that the sweetest times will soon follow. Times that never would have existed without going through something pungent. They really are best paired together, especially in the form of lemon and strawberries.

Strawberry & Lemon Curd Tart

Adapted from William’s Sonoma Pies & Tarts

Tart Dough Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Note: although the William’s Sonoma Cookbook had their own Sweet Tart Dough recipe, I can’t get over how on point Cook’s Illustrated got their tart dough to be. I’m tied to that recipe forever because in my eyes, it’s simply the best.

For Sweet Tart Dough

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour, for dusting

For Lemon Curd

5 egg yolks

½ cup (4 ounces/125 g) sugar

¼ cup (2 fl ounces/60 ml) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/90g) unsalted butter

 For Strawberry Layer

4 cups (1 pound/500 g) strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/3 cup (3 fl ounces/80 ml) currant glaze, warm

Make the Tart Dough

Whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours while you make the lemon curd.

Make the Lemon Curd 

Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Whisk vigorously for one minute. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk 1 minute more. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 12 minutes; don’t let it become too hot or the yolks will scramble. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Let cool, stirring occasionally. You should have about 1 cup total. Place in bowl or jar and chill before assembling the tart.

Roll out Tart Dough and Bake It

Unwrap dough; press into a 9-inch tart pan, or, roll it out to 1/8-inch thick and place into the tart pan. If you’re rolling it, make sure you have some flour on your work surface so it won’t stick. Also, a good way to make sure you can get your rolled out tart dough into the pan is to roll it around your rolling pin, and then unravel it slowly into the tart pan. Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and other rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chilled tart shell on cookie sheet; press 12-inch square of foil inside tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on lower rack 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer cookie sheet with tart shell to upper rack and continue to bake until shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Let cool to room temperature before assembling tart, about one hour.

 Assemble Tart

Spread the lemon curd in the cooled tart shell. Arrange the strawberries on top of the lemon curd. Brush with the warm currant glaze. Serve as soon as possible.



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