I’ve been stretching the last jar of my batch of lemon curd from that tea party I mentioned before, and wondering why, since it’s so delicious, I don’t make it more often. So when an occasion came up to make a dessert for company, it’s hardly surprising that lemon curd was on my mind…
I decided to make a tart, and thought that some fresh blueberries would be a great complement to the tartness of the lemon curd. I dug out an old recipe for a brown sugar tart crust I’d previously used and loved, figuring that its sweetness and slight caramel flavor would add depth to the bright and zingy fruits in the rest of the dessert. And you know what? I was right!
The resulting tarts were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat– definitely a showstopper for company in any season (though I’m sure that the blueberries would be that much more delicious in summer).
I actually made several tarts– one large rectangular tart (which you’ll see pictured below) and two smaller round ones since I had leftover dough. I can’t decide which ones were prettier!
Brown Sugar Tart Crust
1 cup butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Cream the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add honey and beat until combined.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Dough will be soft.
3. Press dough into a flat rectangle and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm– at least an hour, two may be better.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
5. Roll dough out onto plastic wrap or parchment (important because it can be pretty sticky after rolled thin) to 1/4″ thickness. Fit into removable-bottom tart pans of desired shape and trim so the edges overlap the edge of the pan by about 1/2″.
6. Optionally, you can line tart pans with parchment and weigh down with rice, dried beans, or pie weights. Not strictly necessary.
7. Set tart pans onto a sheet pan and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. At this point you can remove the weighted parchment (if using) and use a thin, sharp knife to trim the crust level with the edges of your tart pans. Return to oven. (Alternatively, you can trim the crust level before you do any baking at all, but I wanted to avoid shrinkage so I did it this way)
8. Bake another 10-12 minutes, until crust has lightly browned and feels mostly firm to the touch. It will still feel a bit soft, but will firm up the rest of the way when cool. Avoid overbaking, as it makes the finished tart harder to cut.
9. Cool crust completely before removing from pans.
This recipe also makes fabulous not-too-sweet cookies, somewhat reminiscent of graham crackers but with more depth. I find myself nibbling on baked crust scraps all the time!
Microwave Lemon Curd (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Makes a little more than 2 cups
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 4 lemons)
- Zest from the lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted but not hot
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
1) Process lemon zest and sugar together in a food processor until finely ground.
2) Add the eggs to the food processor and process until smooth. You’re looking to break up all of the egg white so it doesn’t coagulate later.
3) Slowly add the butter to the egg/sugar mixture and continue to process until smooth.
4) Add the lemon juice and process until combined.
5) Pour mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl. To avoid bubble-overs, the contents should fill no more than 1/4 of the bowl, it should have at least an 8 cup capacity. Put the bowl on a plate to catch any spills.
6) Microwave the ingredients at 100% power in 1-minute increments, stirring well to combine after each minute.
7) When curd starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, it’s done. This will take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the strength/power of your microwave. The curd’s temperature should have reached at least 185°F, though I tend to go to about 190°F without any problem.
8) Stir the curd one more time, spoon it into a storage container, and refrigerate, covered, until firm. It’ll set more like pudding than like gelatin– thick enough to spread, but not really thick enough to hold much of a shape.
4 cups (2 pints) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup blueberry jam*
1. Heat blueberry jam in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds, until it loosens a bit in consistency. Mix with fresh blueberries and set aside.
* If you can’t find blueberry jam, you can take about 1 1/2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen are both fine) and about 2 tbs. sugar, and heat them together in the microwave until the berries burst and boil. Keep boiling until you get a syrupy consistency, then press into a wire mesh strainer to remove the solids. Cool to room temperature before mixing into your berries. I did this for my tart, but really wished afterwards that I’d just used blueberry jam– so much easier!
To assemble tart, spread lemon curd to desired thickness into cooled tart crust. Top with sauced blueberries and chill until about 30 minutes before serving. I’d recommend waiting to mix the berries with sauce until no more than an hour or so before serving– otherwise they tend to wilt just a tiny bit while they’re waiting in the fridge and they’re not as pretty.
I will also note that this crust recipe, while incredibly delicious (it’s my favorite tart crust ever) tends to get pretty hard in the fridge. Unfortunately, you need to chill the tart to keep the lemon curd from getting too runny, so you’ll just have to make do. I’ve suggested that you take the tart out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving to try to get the best of both worlds. (that being said, this crust would be amazing for a tart served at room temp– maybe something with chocolate and caramel…)