In the past six or so months I've made lots and lots of new things and while many of them have been very good there have been only three that I think are really sensational: Carrot Ginger Soup with Lime Crème Fraîche, Risotto with Crème Fraîche, Asparagus, and Lemon and the lemon raspberry tart from Daniel Boulud's Cafe Boulud Cookbook.
This tart is wonderful. The custard filling is intensely lemon flavored, and silky smooth. The raspberries become soft and a little jam-like as they cook (they also smell wonderful as the tart bakes) and the whole thing with the yellow custard and vivid red raspberries is gorgeous and this picture doesn't begin to convey how pretty it looks. I have made this three times in the last few weeks.
Part of how enamored I am of this tart may be due to the fact that it's the first tart I've ever made. Because I'm firmly convinced that there is a pie crust gene and I don't have it, I thought I'd turn my attention to tarts see if pâte sablée and I are any more compatible than pie crust and I are. I tried Daniel Boulud's recipe the first time but found it hard to work with. Since then I have been using a recipe from Cook's Illustrated very similiar to this one. While my results have not been picture perfect (hence the accompanying picture) I am guardedly optimistic that I have a future with pâte sablée.
But all that aside, I love this tart.
Daniel Boulud's Creamy Lemon and Raspberry Tart
1 partially baked tart shell in a 9 ½” tart pan
2 medium lemons
2 large egg
2 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups raspberries (although I use less, probably closer to a cup)
1. Center a rack and preheat oven to 300°
2. Prepare the lemons: Grate the zest off both lemons and set aside. With a paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of each lemon so the lemon flesh is exposed. Stand the lemon on one of its ends and cut away the pith (the white stuff that’s left after you zest the lemon) so the lemon flesh is exposed. At this point Daniel Boulud says to cut the lemons into crosswise pieces and remove the seeds. I’ve found it easier to cut the lemons lengthwise into quarters, remove the skin which separates each section, and remove any seeds. Put the sections of pulp in the blender.
3. Add the eggs, yolks, and sugar to the pulp in the blender. Puree until smooth. Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the lemon zest and the cream.
4. Give the bowl “a good rap against the counter.” This is to remove any bubbles. “…if there are bubbles in the cream now, there will be bubbles in your tart later. (It’s not tragic, but neither is it attractive.)” I can attest to the importance of this. I skipped this step the first time and the surface of the tart was dotted with tiny little bubbles. Oops.
5. Scatter the berries over the bottom of the tart and pour the filling over them. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set in the middle. Cool on a rack.
The tart is assertively lemon enough that I think it really benefits by being served with lightly-sweetened whipped cream to offset the tart's tartness.