Lemon & Crème fraîche Tart


Last week I had the incredible privilege to attend and speak on a panel at this years Alt Summit Conference in Salt Lake City. This event was amazing. I was not only encouraged and informed, but was also lucky enough to meet a group of girls that I feel quite fortunate to call friends. I must say, being surrounded by so many other talented bloggers was a truly unique and delightful experience.

It might not be that obvious, but I am totally obsessed with citrus fruits right now. When I was at the store last week I snagged a bag of Meyer lemons and I instantly knew what I wanted to make. The lemon tart, or tarte au citron, is a dessert that I don't often eat, but if one gets within 20 feet of me, I'm having a slice. There are a 2 different ways to approach a tart like this: some recipes have you whisk everything together and bake the tart in the oven, while others have you make the lemon curd on the stove top and pour it into your prepared crust of choice. I decided to take the second approach because I really wanted to add those magical crème fraîche swirls on top and, to do that, the curd needs to be cooked. 

This particular tart, in my opinion, has a really lovely balance between sweet and tart, with a little kick of spiciness from the gingersnap crust. If you prefer a slightly sweeter tart, simply add an extra 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. I'm especially in love with this recipe because of the addition of Vermont creameries' vanilla bean crème fraîche. It adds such a lovely creaminess to the tart, with a welcoming hint of vanilla. As you may have noticed, the swirls I added on top of this tart are a bit pink. I had roasted a batch of beets earlier in the day and I used a bit of their juice to naturally color my swirls. Fresh beet juice would work too, but if you don't have any beets, just omit that ingredient all together because the swirls will still look beautiful, I promise.  


Meyer lemon & Crème fraîche tart

Serves 8-12

Gingersnap Crust

2 1/2 Cups roughly grounded Gingersnap cookies, about 43, 2-inch cookies

4-6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Melted

3/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Equipment: Food processor, 9.5 x 1 inch Tart pan with removable bottom, baking sheet


Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. In your food processor, coarsely grind the gingersnap cookies. Add the salt and 4 tablespoons of melted butter; process until moistened and clumps begin to form.

If the mixture seems a bit dry, gradually add an additional 1-2 tablespoons butter, processing in between, until the mixture is moist, but not overly greasy/moist.

Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and up sides of the tart pan and place onto a baking sheet. Allow tart to bake for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant. If the crust puffs, or slides a sit, just use a spoon to push down, or back into place.

Remove tart from the oven and set aside to cool.


Lemon Curd Filling

1/2 Cup Crème fraîche, plus 3 tablespoons divided

3/4 cup Sugar (add 2-3 tbs if you prefer it sweeter)

1/2 Cup Fresh Meyer Lemon Juice

4 Large Eggs, plus 1 yolk

1 Tablespoon Meyer Lemon Zest

Pinch Salt

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes

1-2 Tablespoons Beet Juice (optional)

Equipment: Saucepan, whisk, wooden spoon, fine mesh sieve, ice bath


Method

In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, crème fraîche, sugar, eggs, and yolk until smooth, then set over medium heat. Add the cubed butter, and a pinch of salt, and with a wooden spoon, continuously stir the mixture until it becomes thick, and has a pudding like texture. The curd should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Pour the warm curd through a fine mesh sieve and into a large bowl. Place this bowl into the prepared ice bath.

Allow curd to cool for 2-3 minutes. While curd is cooling mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of the vanilla bean creme fraîche with a few drops of beet juice. 

Pour the slightly cooled lemon curd into the tart, and using a small spoon, drop small dollops of the colored (or not) creme fraîche (about 3/4-1 tsp) all over the top of the tart. With a toothpick or a small pairing knife, create swirls by pulling the tip of the pick or knife through the dollops you just made. 

Lightly cover tart (don't let anything touch the curd) and allow to set in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours. Remove from tart pan once ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Swirls inspired by the lovely Martha Stewart