It’s tart week on Reddit’s 52 weeks of cooking challenge, and once again I’m turning to Thomas Keller. This recipe comes from the French Laundry cookbook; it’s the only one I’ve actually completed to the letter. The only modification I’ve made to the recipe is to swap out a cup of pine nuts for almonds – mostly due to the price of pine nuts, but I have to admit I like the way the crust tastes with the two types of nuts.
For the Crust (yields three 9 inch crusts; freeze the extras, since you can’t really use 1/3 of an egg)
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
16 tablespoons (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the pine nuts in almonds in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the sugar and flour and pulse until the nuts are finally ground. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter, the egg, and the vanilla extract and mix to incorporate, either with the paddle attachment of a stand mixture, or by hand. Divide into 3 pieces (11 ounces each), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least ten minutes before using. Freeze the extras.
Generously butter and flour a 9 inch tart pan, and refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chilled dough in the tart pan and press to fill the pan evenly, working the dough into the sides of the pan. Place a piece of foil on top of the dough and weigh down with a pound of pinto beans/pie weights. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights, and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown. Let cool while you make the filling.
Filling (for one tart)
2 large eggs, cold
2 large egg yolks, cold
¾ cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 ½ inches of water to a boil. In a bowl slightly larger than the diameter of the pan, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about a minute, until smooth. Place the bowl over the pot, and whisk the mixture while turning the bowl for even heating. After about 2 minutes, once the eggs are foamy and thickened, add 1/3 of the lemon juice. Whisk for 2 minutes, then add another 1/3 of the lemon juice. Whisk for two minutes more, then add rest of the lemon juice. Whisk for – you guessed it- 2 minutes. The mixture should be thickened, light in color, and the whisk should leave a trail at the bottom of the bowl. This all should take approximately 8-10 minutes.
Turn the heat off, but leave the bowl over the water and whisk in the butter one piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen, but it will thicken as it cools. Pour the sabayon into the tart shell, and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Preheat your broiler, and place the tart underneath. Leave the door open and carefully watch the tart. The top will brown in about 30 seconds; rotate as needed for even browning. Remove and let cool for at least an hour. Can be served cold or at room temperature, along with honeyed mascarpone cream.
Honeyed Mascarpone Cream:
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon honey
In a bowl set over ice, whip the cream until it’s frothy. Add the mascarpone and honey and continue to whisk for 2 minutes, until the cream is thickened; I cheated and used a hand mixer for about a minute. Keep refrigerated.