Hello, and Happy Food52sday!
What's better than a buttery/crumbly square of shortbread topped with a layer of tangy fruit curd? A slice, that's what. I really wanted to use rhubarb for the curd as in the Recipe Inspiration, but it's not quite in season yet, so I went with mixed citrus: grapefruit, orange and a splash of both key lime juice and lemon juice.
Once I decided to make a tart as opposed to bars, I knew I wanted to keep it short, to keep the ratio of crust to filling at 1:1. After tasting it, I think I made the right call. The shortbread is so devastatingly tasty (that's right--I said devastatingly) that it needs a chance to shine as much as the sweet-tart filling. Think of it more as a bar cookie in tart form as opposed to an Actual tart.
What I ended up making was more of a sabayon than a curd. Sabayons are thick and foamy while curds are just thick--no bubbles. Pretty much the only difference between the two is the technique used to put them together. Whisk the Mess out of a sabayon; stir a curd constantly. Yeah, there might be a little bit more sugar in one than the other, but maybe not. I liked the light foaminess of the sabayon against the crumbly crust, but a smooth, dense curd would be just as delightful. The rule is: make what you like. A few minutes in a 350F sets either up so it'll slice beautifully.
- 6 oz unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut into chunks
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 oz all purpose flour
- about ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon fennel pollen
- 4 oz ruby red grapefruit juice, freshly sqeezed
- 1 oz orange juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz key lime juice (I used Nelly&Joe's)
- salt, to taste (I about ¼ teaspoon)
- zest from 1 grapefruit
- zest from 1 orange
- ⅓-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1½ oz butter, cut into chunks
- Put all the ingredients into the bowl of your food processor and process until you get a crumbly dough. This will take awhile. You will think it's never going to happen, until it does. So be patient.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of ¼". Line a 9" or 10" tart pan with the dough. If the dough tears, don't worry, just patch it all back together, and press to seal.
- Work the dough up the sides of the pan, making sure to press it into the corners of the pan.
- Roll across the top with a rolling pin, and remove excess dough.
- Take a knife and cut the dough so the sides are only ¼" higher than the bottom. Prick all over with a sharp knife and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
- Place the butter in a bowl, and put a fine-mesh strainer in the bowl. Set aside.
- Place all of the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Whisk constantly and quickly over medium heat until the mixture is very light in color, very thick and about doubled in volume. This will take a few minutes, but when it finally happens, it will happen quickly.
- Immediately remove the filling from the heat and pour through the strainer.
- Press all of the mixture through the strainer with a silicone spatula.
- Stir to incorporate the butter.
- Pour the filling into the tart shell, and fill it all the way to the top. You'll have some filling left over, so be thinking of a fabulous way to use it up.
- Bake at 350F for ten minutes.
- Remove to a cooling rack to cool, and then refrigerate.
I'm looking forward to making this with rhubarb, once it's available here, but I was very pleased with the citrusy goodness. I hope you try out this recipe. Hey, here's a thought: press the dough into a square pan and then top with curd or sabayon to twice the thickness of the crust. Bake. Chill. Slice. Best lemon bars (or lime bars, or passion fruit bars...) ever.
If you cooked along this week, leave your link in the comments here or post your creation over on the facebook page.
Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.
PS The flowers? Rosemary. For color and Fun, but they actually complemented the filling nicely.