It’s a mystery.
Rich and I are both convinced that we left our kitchen flame thrower at Golnaz’s house. Heck, even Golnaz is pretty certain we left it there, after we totally failed to get it to work for crème brûlées last fall (Golnaz’s broiler did the trick in the end).
So, then. How did I come to find a kitchen flame thrower in my drawer, and how did I manage to get it to work?
No frikkin’ clue, but I did, and it did, and now we are here to tell the tale of this tasty lemon tart with a crispity charred sugar topping, courtesy of said flame thrower.
•8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
•1 large egg
•1 tsp vanilla
•1/2 tsp salt
•2 cups pastry flour
•1/2 cup almond flour
•Zest of 3 lemons
•1-1/4 cup sugar, divided
•1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
•3 large eggs
•6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Note: pastry flour was surprisingly hard to find, and, once I did, I could only get whole wheat pastry flour. Worked a treat, so don’t fret about it. Between the whole wheat and the almond flours, it came out tasting a bit like graham crackers; and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
For the dough, beat the butter together with the confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl until light.
Add the vanilla, egg, and salt and mix until nicely blended.
Add the almond and pastry flour and mix until the dough comes together and cleans the side of the mixing bowl.
Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased tart pan and poke well with a fork to keep air pockets from forming while baking.
Stash the tart pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour.
Whisk the lemon zest together with one cup of the sugar in a two quart or so sauce pan until nicely mixed and fragrant.
Whisk in the lemon juice and the eggs and cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly (a pain, yes, but it won’t take too long – mebbe ten minutes), until the mixture thickens nicely.
Heat your oven to 350º.
Strain the lemon mixture through a fine meshed sieve, then whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it has melted and been blended into the lemon mixture.
Bake the unfilled tart dough for 20 minutes, until it looks and feels dry.
Add the lemon mixture and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, until the filling has set.
Cool to room temperature.
If you’re going to serve it all at once, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar over the top of the cooled tart and give it a good blast with your kitchen flame thrower.
If, like me, you made it for your husband’s early birthday cake and there’s only the two of you so you cannot eat all of this tasty, tasty tart at once; you can cut the tart into individual slices and just brûlée as needed.
Works a treat.
Tastes even better.