January 16, 2010

Lemon tart with a shortbread crust

I got a tart pan from my friend V for my wedding shower/tea party and have been excited to try it out. Last night we had dinner company, so I decided it would be a perfect time to give a tart a try. I wanted something light and bright --- so I chose one of my favorite flavors of all time - lemon! This recipe seemed a perfect one to try. The crust got a little darker than I would have liked, but it was still delicious.


First, the crust:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (cold and cut into chunks)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into a food processor and pulse until combined. Then add the cold butter chunks and pulse until the mixture begins to clump. Spray your tart pan with some cooking spray and then place the pastry into the pan. Spread the pastry out into an even layer and press it with your fingertips onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

A great tip from the recipe I used is to place the pastry into the freezer for about 15 minutes to let it cool and set. This keeps the pastry from shrinking when you bake it. After it's chilled, place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes (just begins to turn golden brown). Place the pan on a wire rack to cool and then make the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and clean and dry your food processor.

The filling:
5 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup unbleached fine cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs

Place to cream cheese into the food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the sugar and pulse until incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the lemon juice and zest and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into the tart shell and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for about 1 hour (until chilled and set).

Top with whipped cream and some extra lemon zest.

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