Lemon Brulé Tart

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 Home 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 Years 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!

INGREDIENTI

Prep Time: 45 min / Cooking Time: 70 min / Inactive Time: 90 min / Serves: 8

DOUGH

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ Cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
½ Lb (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch pieces and chilled
3 large Organic egg yolks, plus 1 white
1 shot of rum or grappa

FILLING

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream
5 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
Juice and zest of 2 organic lemons
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1

Add 2 ½ cups flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt, zest of 1 lemon, to a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook. Turn on to whisk together for 30 seconds.

2

With 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.

3

Add the butter, cold and cut into pieces, work at medium speed (no higher than speed 4), until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

4

In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks and the rum: add it to the mixture, as the machine keeps on running on medium speed. The dough will suddenly appear (it only takes a few seconds); as soon as it starts leaving the sides of the bowl turn off the machine, and by hand, on a flat surface, work in shape of a disk and refrigerate for about an hour.

5

Heat oven to 375 Fº. Butter an 11-inch tart pan very well.

6

On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, and gently lay it into the tart pan. Press the dough lightly into the round edges, then, using your fingers, press on the edges of the pan, cutting off the excess. With a fork, poke the dough several times, all the way through to the pan; when in the oven the tart will “try to rise”, poking the tart helps hot breath in the hot air. Brush the dough with a thin layer of egg white. Bake for about 25- 30 minutes, with a sheet tray on the rack below it, until the edges of the dough look golden and crisp.

7

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together 1 cup sugar, cream, yolks, and eggs, in a large bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Let rest while the tart shell bakes.

8

Remove the tart from oven, place on a sheet tray, and pour filling into the warm tart shell. Tap gently on the counter to release any excess air bubbles.

9

Lower the oven to 300 Fº.

10

Cook in the oven for 40 minutes. The custard will appear firm with just a slight jiggle in the center of the tart.

11

Remove from oven and let cool off for about 30 minutes.

12

To serve, remove the tart from the pan, garnish evenly with powdered sugar and use a torch to caramelize it. Repeat the final step twice to ensure a real crunch!