Recipe: “In the Summertime” Tart
By Heather Thompson
We’re having a heat wave this week, and we’re also gearing up for 4th of July. With that, I put on my baking mitts.
Well sort of. This is a hardly-any-bake kind of desert that will wow friends with your serious kitchen prowess. Anytime you use lemon curd in dessert, people will marvel. But it’s actually a really easy process.
I am in love with ginger, so I decided to throw lemon curd a ginger curve and came up with a lemon ginger tart recipe that, so far, has pleased all my taste testers. Now granted, some of them are my employees, so they might be telling me its better than it really is, but I doubt it. This “In the Summertime” tart is refreshing with the tang of lemon, the light spice of ginger, and the hominess of a cookie crust.
I do myself a few favors: I use fresh lemons and hand zest to get the best parts. But I also take shortcuts when I can—such as using really great cookies to help form the crust of this tart. I’m particularly fond of Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps a cookie that clearly already has its own following. What I like is that this small cookie has some candied ginger in it, adding a toffee-like chewiness to the crust. It’s hard to replicate, but if you wanted to make your own ginger snaps and then add in some finely chopped candied ginger, I’m sure you could get the same effect. I’m far too lazy to take that extra step—especially when anticipating triple digit heat.
So here it is: a ginger lemon “In the Summertime” Tart.
Preheat oven to 375
1 ½ cups Trader Joe’s Triple ginger snaps crushed fine
¼ cup sugar (I use superfine, but any white sugar will do)
6 tbl butter (melted)
Mix cookies, sugar and butter in a medium bowl and then spread dough in bottom of 9 in. tart pan (I use the kind that has a separate plate on the bottom, which makes for easy serving).
Bake in oven for 7 minutes. Remove crust and set aside to cool. (Note: I’ve had trouble with the butter falling through my tart pan. Be sure to put a drip pan below to avoid buttering your oven)
Filling (this recipe will make more curd than needed for the pie, so save any extra in a glass bowl with a lid—or just go on and double the recipe. Can be used on toast and pancakes, or for dipping fresh fruit and cookies)
Freshly grated ginger to taste (about ½ tbl. –optional)
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs (room temperature)
¼ lb (1 stick) unsalted butter (mostly room temperature, but no warmer)
2 pinches salt
Zest lemons using microplane or vegetable peeler, taking care to avoid the pith. This is the most laborious part of the process, but at least your whole body will smell like lemons. If using vegetable peeler process the zest with the sugar to get lemon pieces to very fine consistency. Squeeze lemons and set aside about ½ cup of fresh juice.
In large glass or metal bowl (no plastic) cream sugar, zest, fresh ginger, and butter together with hand or standing mixer. Mix in eggs one at a time. Then add salt and lemon juice.
Pour mixture into saucepan over low heat, and stir constantly. After about 10 minutes (or mixture reaches 175 degrees) the consistency will noticeably thicken. Remove from heat and pour about ¾ of curd into tart mold. Allow it to cool at room temperature (you can cover with wax paper if you are concerned about it, but try not to let the paper touch the surface of the tart).
Once mixture is room temperature, garnish tart with fresh berries, candied lemon, or candied ginger, as desired. Refrigerate until serving.