Thursday, June 2, 2016

(Almost) Perfect Lemon Almond Tart

A little more lemon curd, a little less flour and this tart would have been near perfect.
Welcome to the second installation of my obsession with puff pastry. I promise, I'll be moving on to other things shortly.

After making my triple batch of puff pastry a couple weeks ago, I wasn't even sure of everything I was going to try to do with it. The more I thought about it though, the more I wanted to find a way to include some lemon into whatever I made. Personally, citrus is one of my favorite flavors in desserts--I just can't get enough of that tartness and occasional sourness to offset the sweetness of most baked goods. I also happened to have a jar of good lemon curd in my fridge (a store bought brand with no artificial ingredients, but doctored up with some more lemon juice, more butter, and some salt). Thus began the google searching.

Initially I started to to look into pastry-lemon-berry recipes, but thought the berries would overpower the lemon. As I continued searching, I began to see lemon paired up with almond fairly regularly. I was intrigued by the thought of the very slight nuttiness of almond meal highlighted by lemon curd, and eventually landed on this recipe: Puff pastry lemon almond tart.

The end result was good . . . my family liked it, and I ate way more of it than I should have. However, it was not quite perfect. Maybe the recipe was affected by my use of a deep dish pie pan instead of a rectangular pan, but I felt like the almond layer was a little too dry and there also just wasn't enough lemon curd. So, I would recommend cutting the flour and increasing the curd (reflected in the recipe below).

But, there might be an even better option. After I made this recipe, I realized that the filling actually reminded me a lot of something I had heard mentioned on the GBBO--frangipane. I went on another google binge and realized that the filling in the tart I made was the exact same ingredients as frangipane, just in different proportions. The one common theme in most frangipane recipes that I found is that it included a lot less flour than the tart I made, addressing my main concern.

So, next time I make this, I am actually going to try this recipe as the almond filling: Laws of Baking: Frangipane. Report to follow.

The (Almost) Perfect Lemon Tart

1 Batch Puff Pastry from previous post (or, store bought)
300g (10 oz) lemon curd
90g (3oz) unsalted butter
90g (3oz) sugar
1 egg
50g (1oz) almond meal
60g (2oz) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Zest and juice from 1 large or 2 small lemons
pinch of salt
handful of flaked almonds

[The dainty hands in the pictures to follow belong to my baby sister who helped me make this (she's not really a baby anymore)]

Start off by rolling out your pastry until it is about 1/8 inch thick and big enough for the vessel you are going to use. I was initially going to use the black springform pan, but my dough was not rolled out large enough to go up the sides after we cut it round. So, I settled on a deep dish pie pan.

Lay the dough into your dish, and shape it into the corners/edges. Here is where you can utilize an awesome GBBO tip: use a piece of extra dough to push the pastry into the pan. This will prevent your fingers or fingernails from ripping the pastry, and will keep the dough smooth.

Put in the fridge to chill.

Next, you want to make your filling. Start out by creaming your softened butter with a stand or hand mixer. Once it is soft, add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy.

Next, you want to beat in your egg. Then fold in the almond meal, flour, baking powder, zest, juice, and salt. You should end up with something the consistency of a medium cake batter (looser than the final result on my picture above).

Remove your chilled pastry from the fridge and layer the lemon curd on the bottom. Then, spoon the filling on top of the lemon curd and spread it with a spatula. Try to keep the lemon curd under the almond filling as much as possible (a little marbling like above is great).

Then spread a good amount of flaked almonds on top. I had a lot of extra pastry, so I decided to fold it over and crimp it into a basic design. For me, there is never enough flaky pastry. But, you can also trim off most of this excess (and use it to make the cookies from my previous post!).

You then want to bake the tart for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees (take it out when golden brown, the filling has puffed, and the pastry looks flaky). Let it rest for a few minutes, but serve it warm.

You will enjoy it immensely.

Despite my need to change this recipe next time I make it, it really was good. I think with the additional lemon curd it is basically going to resemble a cake wrapped in puff pastry with sweet and tart lemon curd. You cannot go wrong with that. But, I will let you know how it is with frangipane instead.

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Welcome to my blog, where you can join me as I revel in my love of food. Eating it, cooking it, baking it, watching it on TV and even learning about it. If it has to do with food, I am probably interested.

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