Do you ever wake up with a craving? Do you ever start titillating with the idea of a luxurious dinner, even before taking the first sip of your morning coffee? I usually do. Very often it gives a whole new purpose to the day I am about to live, setting the pace for what I will shop for, when I will start cooking, and also very often it dictates what I will have for lunch… yes, when I plan my family dinners I often find myself starving throughout the day, to make sure that when 7 pm comes around I am ready to literally attack the table.
My stomach does not discriminate, it has a mind of its own, and it does not discern between appetizers, pastas, meats or desserts; a craving is a craving, trying to understand how it comes to rule your day is a lost battle, so I have learned to roll with it!
Today at 6.45 am the dog woke me up to go outside, I had coffee at sunrise in the garden, hands wrapped around the warm mug… as the Sun was coming up I had a culinary vision! In an Homer Simpson like moment, the bright and warm Sun was registered by my brain as a freshly baked Lemon Brulé Tart. And this shall be cooked today, along with the rest of my New Year’s Eve menu that I thought it was locked in last night! Enjoy this delicious and easy enough recipe, you still have some time to do some last minute shopping for tonight’s party.
Let’s toast to a great ending and a better beginning, Buon Anno!
Serves: 6-8 / Prep Time: 20 mins / Inactive Time: 60 mins / Cooking Time: 25- 30 mins
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (not going all the way through)
- ½ Lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and chilled
- 1 large egg separated plus
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 shot (1 1/2 ounces) grappa or rum
Serves: 6-8 / Prep Time: 5 mins / Inactive Time: 30 mins / Cooking Time: 40 mins (includes time to bake tart once filled with lemon filling)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- Juice and zest of 2 organic lemons
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1For the tart dough, add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt, and zest of 1 lemon to a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Turn on to whisk together for 30 seconds.
2With a sharp knife, open the vanilla bean, and with a small spoon remove the seeds and add them to the other ingredients in the mixer. Add the cold butter and work at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
3In a small bowl, beat together the 2 egg yolks and the shot of grappa. Add it to the dough mixture, while the machine keeps on running on medium speed for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the dough detaches from the sides of the bowl.
4Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape it into a disc. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5Preheat oven to 375 Fº. Butter an 11-inch tart pan, with a removable bottom, very well.
6On a floured surface, roll the dough to a round about 1/8 inch thick, and gently lay it into the tart pan. Press the dough lightly against the side. Using your fingers, press on the edges of the pan, cutting off the excess dough.
7With a fork, poke the dough several times, all the way through to the pan surface several times (when in the oven the tart will “try to rise”, poking the tart helps hot breath in the hot air).
8Brush the dough with a thin layer of egg white and bake for about 25- 30 minutes, with a sheet tray on the rack below it. Cook until the edges of the dough look golden and crisp.
ASSEMBLY OF TART
1Meanwhile, while the tart shell bakes, make the lemon filling by whisking together the 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of heavy cream, 5 egg yolks, and 2 whole eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the the lemon zest and juice of both lemons.
2Once the tart shell is done baking after the 25-30 minutes time frame, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
3Place the lemon filling in the warm tart shell. Tap gently on the counter to release any excess air bubbles in the filling.
4Return the tart to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the filling appears firm with just a slight jiggle in the center of the tart.
5Remove from oven and let cool off for about 30 minutes.
6Remove the tart from the pan sides and sprinkle evenly with the confectioners’ sugar.
7Using a crème brûlée torch, caramelize the sugar on top. Serve immediately.