I think you will really love this mixed citrus sabayon tart.
Grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime juices whisked together in a sweetened egg base until foamy and cooked and then poured into a lovely shortbread crust. This citrus tart is kind of like a bar cookie in tart form. The crust shines every bit as much as the filling, and the two complement each other beautifully.
For another really pretty tart recipe, you may like my blackberry swirl cheesecake tart. And for ease of browsing, you can find all my pie and tart recipes in one place. Enjoy!
Why Is This Tart So Delicious?
What’s better than a buttery/crumbly square of shortbread topped with a layer of tangy fruit curd?
A slice, that’s what.
Especially when the crust is buttery and delicious and the perfect foil to a cool, tart citrus filling. Perfection!
This tart takes full advantage of the wonderful buttery crust and presents it in a 1:1 ratio with the light and fluffy sabayon filling.
If you’d like, you can even bake this in a square pan and cut it into squares.
Difference Between a Sabayon and a Curd
Traditionally made with wine as the liquid, sabayons are thick and foamy while curds are just thick–no bubbles.
While the liquid in a curd is citrus juice versus alcohol, the two are fairly similar. The main difference is in the way you make them.
Whisk a sabayon over a double boiler (or direct heat if you’re feeling daring) to incorporate as much air as possible.
Stir a curd constantly to keep it moving, but there’s no need to aerate it.
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.
I love a recipe where a short ingredient list pays off in big flavor. This tangy citrus sabayon tart is one of those recipes.
Here’s what you’ll need for the crust:
- butter: carries the flavor. Blending the butter into the flour mixture ensures a crumbly short crust and minimal gluten development
- sugar: provides sweetness and assists in browning. Sugar also keeps the dough from being too dry.
- salt: brings all the flavors into focus
- all-purpose flour: provides the bulk and structure for the crust. All-purpose is your best choice here, so don’t substitute cake flour or bread flour.
- vanilla: provides a mellow, floral note that complements the tangy filling
- fennel pollen (optional): This is for sure an optional ingredient. It’s hard to explain what fennel pollen brings to the party. It tastes of fennel and flowers. As an aside, it’s also lovely sprinkled over finished savory dishes. It adds a little…something…that is really quite lovely
And here’s what you’ll need to make the filling:
- citrus juice: I used a combination of ruby red grapefruit juice, orange juice, lemon juice, and key lime juice. You can use all of one or mix them up as you see fit
- salt: salt not only focuses your flavors, but it also acts here to counteract any bitterness from the citrus juices
- grapefruit and orange zest: brings the floral citrus notes that juice alone does not. Feel free to use lemon zest, lime zest, etc–any combination will work
- sugar: adds needed sweetness and adds body to the sabayon, because when it dissolves it turns into a syrup
- eggs: adds richness and structure. The eggs are what make this tart set up. And since you cook them while you’re whisking over heat, it also sets the bubbly foamy structure, sort of like making a meringue but with whole eggs
- egg yolks: adds additional richness, a silky mouthfeel, and emulsifiers to keep the sabayon from separating
- butter: provides a touch of mellowness and also allows the tart to set up more firmly under refrigeration
The crust is super easy to make.
All you have to do is put all the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.
Note it may take some time, but it will happen, so just keep at it.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can combine everything in a bowl and use your fingers to smush everything together into a stiff dough.
For the Filling
The filling takes a bit more work to make, but the steps are not hard:
- Put the butter into a glass bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the top.
- Put all the rest of the filling ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Heat over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. The mixture will lighten in color and about double in volume.
- One it thickens up which will happen pretty quickly once it gets hot enough, pour the filling through the strainer into the butter.
- Whisk to incorporate.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust, filling it almost to the top.
- Bake at 350F for 10 minutes to set the filling.
- Cool and then chill before serving.
Pro Tips for Success
PRO TIP: Freeze the formed tart shell for 30 minutes before baking. This will help it to keep its shape in the oven.
PRO TIP 2: The recipe makes more filling than needed for the tart. Pour the excess into a jar and give it to a friend. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.
A Note About Measurements
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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Mixed Citrus Sabayon Tart
For the Shortbread
- 6 oz unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into chunks
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 oz all purpose flour
- about 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon fennel pollen
For the Curd
- 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 1/4 teaspoon)
- zest from 1 grapefruit
- zest from 1 orange
- 1/3-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 ½ oz butter , cut into chunks
For the Shortbread
- 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 1/4". 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.
- Freeze the crust for 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Allow to cool before filling with the filling. Leave the oven on.
For the Curd
- Place the butter in a bowl, and put a fine-mesh strainer in the bowl. Set aside.
- Place all the rest 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 leftover, 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.
Did You Make Any Changes?
And there you have it, friends. I hope you love this lemony sabayon tart as much as I do.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.
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