God bless Ina Garten.
Ten years ago she released The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, and totally changed the way I approach cooking.
Long a devotee of Sheila Lukins and the Silver Palate Cookbooks, I was used to every recipe having 47 ingredients, at least 4 of which were not available in my local grocery store.
Ina's recipes have no more than 5 or 6 ingredients and with the possible exception of her Lemon Cappellini with Caviar, most dishes can be made pretty frugally too.
The biggest change I made after getting this cookbook was to change my tart crust from a Pate Brisee, buttery and flaky and a true french classic, but a pain to roll and fit into a tart crust.
My gal Ina uses a shortbread cookie crust.
And I do too: who doesn't like cookies? This crust goes together in 5 seconds in the food processor, and is mashed like play-dough into a tart pan.
And the crisp cookie layer adds great crunch to the finished tart.
You could make up a bunch of these and freeze them, and then have tarts all the live long day, if you were that kind of person. Which I'm not.
Raspberry Tart with Lemon Curd
For the Shortbread Crust:
1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Blend together the butter and the sugar in a food processor or a mixer if that's what you've got. Add the vanilla and blitz again. Add the flour and the salt and whirl until dough starts to come together in a ball.
Gather dough together and press into a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a false bottom.
Press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Chill or freeze until firm.
Bake for 20 minutes. Using a small flat bottomed glass, press the bottom of the tart flat, leaving the sides alone.
Or if you are so inclined, line the raw tart with buttered parchment weighed down by dry beans and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and the beans and...
Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crust is light brown all over.
Remove and cool fully.
For the Lemon Curd:
1 stick butter
juice and zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat with the sugar and the lemon juice and zest. Stir occasionally and do not let the butter brown.
Whisk the three eggs together in a small bowl until well combined.
Add to the lemon/butter mixture and continue whisking over LOW heat until the curd thickens. This will take a few minutes. Avoid the temptation to increase the heat because that will mean you will have SCRAMBLED EGGS in your curd. Ewwwwww.
When the whisk leaves pretty deep tracks through the curd and it is the consistency of pudding, remove from the heat and immediately scrape the curd into a fine mesh strainer set over a medium sized bowl. This step is not necessary but does take care of the stray seed/flecks of egg problem.
To assemble the tart:
2 pints raspberries
Spoon the curd into the bottom of the tart shell and smooth with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon.
Working from the center, place the raspberries, point up, into the lemon curd,filling the entire tart shell.
Refrigerate until serving.
Best the day it is made, but no one is going to refuse any left-overs. It's just that the raspberries break down and get juicy pretty quickly.