This would have been the perfect Mother's Day dessert. Before that (I love having all the recipes for Tuesdays with Dorie announced early) it would have been the perfect dinner party dessert. However, misreading the instructions (What's that, Dorie, you said partially baked tart crust? I followed your hints and cooked this thing until it was nice and golden brown...) and using my son's naptime on Sunday to nap myself prevented me from making these for either of those events. Instead, I found myself Monday night making this tart in the few minutes I had before my husband got home from work. Since we've gotten into our first real house of our own, my baking even seems to be dictated by the on peak/off peak hours for the electricity (my Dad would be so bugged to know I never learned these things while I was in his house).
So instead of making the time and electricity intensive crust (I don't mind the process at all, I love making tart shells now), I opted to make this beautiful tart into crustless ramekins. I followed the advice to remove the pith but just peeling the lemon with a vegetable peeler to remove the zest in big strips, then peeling the lemon like an orange (discard the pith), removing the seeds and throwing it all into the food processor. I was shocked at how quickly this came together- a few minutes pulverizing and it was smooth and delicious. I poured the cream into buttered ramekins, placed them in a dish with a hot water bath, and baked at 325 for about 30 minutes. After the were about set, I let them cool on the counter before putting them in the fridge for an hour. At this point they were begging for whipped cream, but my little guy has a tendency to rush out of bed if he hears the KitchenAid, so I ate mine without. Wow. This tartest crustless tart was AMAZING. It was thick on top and a little runny on the bottom- not quite puckery lemon but enough to liven things up. You can bet I'm whipping up some cream for tomorrows breakfast. These babies deserve it. Grab the recipe at Babette's and see for yourself (my modifications follow). You can bet I'm making this with a crust in the near future. During off peak hours, of course.
Tartest Lemon Tart
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan
1 1/2 lemons, scrubbed and dried
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temp
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used room temperature butter, but it's warm in my AZ kitchen!)
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Peel lemon with a vegetable peeler to remove zest. Remove all pith by peeling like an orange, then slice whole lemon in half and pull out seeds. Repeat with the rest of the lemon.
Put lemons and sugar in blender and pulse, blend and scrape down sides until you have smooth mix. Add remaining filling ingredients and pulse and blend until filling is homogeneous. Rap bowl on counter several times to de-bubble filling as much as possible, and pour it into buttered ramekins placed inside a casserole dish. Set into oven and fill the dish with hot water half way up the ramekins. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until almost set. Chill, if you'd like, before serving with cream or dusting of confectioners' sugar.