April 07, 2013


Hello! Time to share a new favourite.

Meyer Lemon Tart with Berries

We had a couple friends over for dinner last night and busted out this beauty.

Meyer Lemon Tart with Berries

This dessert is a real people pleaser. The combination of buttery tart, creamy mousse and fresh fruit is the perfect balance to many a meal. We decided to pair it with a Sicilian Lamb Braciolette that Neil (boyfriend) lovingly pounded and prepared. It is a delicious combo of lamb rolled up with copious amounts of fresh mint, rosemary, parsley, prosciutto and pecorino. Yum. The recipe is from the preeminent and highly renowned 'Trail Cooks Italian!' cookbook.

Oh my. This food network link is the exact word for word recipe from the Trail cookbook. Did Mario Batali rip off the Nonnas of Trail?!

Meyer Lemon Tart with Berries

Okay, back to the dessert. I highly recommend using Meyer lemons if you can find them. I've recently seen the wee bags available all over town. They are a hybrid of mandarin and lemon and have the loveliest unique flavour. They are sweet with an amazing perfume and are easy on the tart-o-meter making them ideal for desserts.

Sweet tart dough

May I also highly recommend the rectangular tart pan. I'd been hunting for one for a while and had spotted some at William Sonoma but was not interested in the price. I recently swooped one up at the nearby Home Sense for an $8 steal. Whoop! Imagine this crust all lined up with asparagus. That is the chicest GD asparagus ever.

If you have some pastry leftover after lining your pan why not make yourself a few mini tarts? May no pastry ever go to waste. Amen.

Here are a few pics of our dinner-making day. We often like to hop on the little ferries to cross False Creek to the Granville Island Market

I enjoy these little boats. What girl wouldn't?

Granville Island

Hmm, I didn't take any pictures inside, sorry. I got too overwhelmed picking out daffodils with one hand and stuffing my face with an almond croissant from La Baguette et L'Echalote with the other. The market is a great place to pick up quality meats, breads, cheeses and olivey type things. You can find some harder to find fruits and veggies there, this is where I picked up the physalis (lantern berries), but the general produce is about the same quality as your local grocer but cha-ching!

Its' officially flats weather for me in Vancouver. Rain or shine my feet are looking ballerina ready.

And now onto the show.

Sweet Tart Dough
Recipe adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery

Yield: Two 14" x 4" rectangular tarts, or two 9" round tarts

This makes a large batch of dough. I highly recommend you make the full batch divide it in half and freeze one portion for a later delicious date. The dough will keep up to 2 months in the freezer.

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 6 tablespoons superfine sugar (berry, caster sugar)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

2. Add the sugar and beat, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until very light in colour and texture, about 3 minutes.

3. Gradually dribble in the eggs and vanilla.

4. Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour and salt. Mix just until the dough clumps together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.

5. Gather up the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times until smooth and supple. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick, and wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 day, but it will be very hard, and should stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen double wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.)

Meyer Lemon Curd
Recipe adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery

Yield: About one cup

Use 2 regular lemons if Meyers cannot be found. Feel free to double the recipe, this delectable curd is amazing on scones, toast, yogurt and crepes. Or as a filling for cakes, a lemon meringue tart or just paired with berries.

  • 3 Meyer lemons
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2" cubes

1. Rinse the lemons under cold water and dry well. Using the small holes on a box grater or a microplane zester, remove the yellow-coloured zest from the lemons, try not to remove the bitter white pith. Cut and squeeze the lemons and strain the juice. You should have about 1/3 cup juice.

2. Place a medium bowl with a fine mesh wire sieve near the stove. In another medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest to combine. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, the bowl should not touch the water. Using a silicone spatula, cook the curd, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, until it is opaque and thick enough to cling to the spatula, about 8 minutes. (A finger run through the curd on the spatula should cut a swath, and an instant read thermometer will read 185° C.)

3. Strain the mixture through a wire sieve into a medium bowl. Using the spatula stir the mixture to help it flow through the sieve and gently push the curd through the strainer.

4. Gradually whisk in the butter, allowing each addition to incorporate before adding more.

5. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the curd and pierce a few holes to let steam escape. Let cool at room temperature, transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for up to a week.

Meyer Lemon Cream Tart with Berries
Recipe adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery

Yield: One 14" x 4" rectangular tart or one 9" round tart

A tart pan with a removable bottom is preferred but not necessary. You may have a little extra mousse left over from this recipe because I needed to use enough whipping cream to enable it to whip in the bowl of a stand mixer. This dilemma can be solved by making mini tarts from leftover pastry or by just putting it in your mouth.

  • 1/2 recipe of Sweet Tart Dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin powder
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 recipe Meyer Lemon Curd
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed berries (I used raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and physalis)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (any variety of berry jam can be used)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • Mint leaves for garnish

1. Position rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Place your mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer.

2. On a lightly floured 20" long piece of parchment paper roll out the dough to a 17" x 6 1/2" rectangle. Using the entire length of your arm carefully lift up the dough and flip it onto the tart pan and remove the parchment paper. Carefully ease the dough into the bottom of the pan by lifting up the pastry edge and pressing down into the pan. Try not to stretch the dough. If you have holes and cracks fear not! This dough is very forgiving. Patch up any holes or thinner areas of the crust with a little of the extra overhanging pastry. Pierce the bottom and lower sides of the dough with a fork. Freeze for 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer and using your thumb push down and scrape off the over hanging excess pastry. Freeze for 5 more minutes.

3. Line the dough with a 19" by 8" piece of parchment paper and fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Place the pan on a half-sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove parchment paper and the weights. Continue baking until the pastry is golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes more. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

4. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a ramekin. Let stand until the gelatin absorbs the water, about 5 minutes. Bring a 1/2" of water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Place the ramekin in the water and stir constantly until the gelatin is completely dissolved, at least 1 minute. Remove the ramekin from the water. Stir 1 tablespoon of the cream into the gelatin.

5. Place the lemon curd and optional mascarpone cheese into a large bowl. Stir to soften the cheese.

6. Whip the remaining cream in a chilled mixer bowl with the whisk attachment at high speed (8 on a Kitchen Aid) until the cream is well thickened but hasn't formed peaks. With the mixer running, pour the gelatin mixture through the whisk so it is quickly and evenly distributed into the cream. Continue beating until the cream forms soft peaks.

7. Stir one-quarter of the whipped cream into the lemon curd mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining cream.

8. Carefully spoon the lemon filling into the cooled pastry shell. Fill to 1/8" from the top of the crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap with the wrap barely touching the surface. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour.

9. In a small saucepan combine the berry jam with 1 tablespoon of water. Place over medium heat and gently warm the jam until melted, about 1 minute. Strain the jam to remove seeds and fruit pieces. Remove plastic wrap from tart and spoon strained jam onto set mousse. Cover the entire surface with a thin layer. With the back of a spoon or offset spatula carefully push the jam into the corners and edges of the tart.

10. Cover your tart with berries. I prefer a haphazard look and do not place all the berries perfectly vertical but with some laying at different angles. Place tart in refrigerator.

11. In a small saucepan combine the apricot jam with 1 teaspoon of water. Place over medium heat and gently warm the jam until melted, about 30 seconds. Strain the jam to remove any fruit pieces. Remove tart from fridge and using a pastry brush, brush the jam over the berries. Garnish with mint leaves just before serving. Tart should be served the same day as assembled.

I hope you enjoy this fabulous tart.

xoxo Melissa 

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