Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

It has become unavoidably evident to me recently that when life throws you lemons, you do not pucker your cheeks and cower in fright. Nor, do you make lemonade. Instead, you make a lemon curd tart that, in all its bright and happy glory, transforms even the most sour lemons into a delectable treat. I obviously mean this both literally and figuratively. Growing up (not that I’m all grown-up quite yet), I’ve learned the hard way that life can be a cornucopia of disappointments. You plan the precise steps and measures you must take in order to reach your envisioned nirvana, but more often than not, you find yourself in the limbo of all your hopeful dreams – not here, nor there.

It is in such equivocal moments that I find myself questioning the next step I’ll make and usually, this means taking no step at all until something (presumably a “lemon”) finally hits me. The most recent disappointment came when I found out that going off to grad school was not in the near-sighted future. This isn’t to say I won’t go to grad school eventually, because I’m earnestly looking forward to that day, but it was a devastating let-down nevertheless. I spent days and weeks pondering on what I would do once I graduated college, but my mind would draw a blank every time. I definitely have overarching dreams and a bucket list of things I must do, but when it came to the very next step I would take post-college, the answer came to me in a most unexpected way. As a matter of fact, I should really be expressing my utmost gratitude toward this frequently unheeded blog (sorry!) and its ardent(?) readers. It is from you, that I have received this opportunity to obtain…..

Yes, a classic cherry red KitchenAid all-in-one stand mixer. I get chills of excitement just thinking about it. I know, not the average object of affection for your average college student.

Oh, and of course in all this kitchen appliance flurry, I almost forgot: I also got a new job. I have fortuitously been offered a job in public relations, marketing, and advertising for the restaurant that I am currently employed at. Thanks to my food-loving portfolio of a blog, I have been deemed competent enough for a job that I have absolutely no experience in whatsoever. Full of anticipation and a nearly equal amount of trepidation, I take my next step to  catch these cursedly wonderful lemons – if not for this divinely tangy and sunny spring tart, then at least to go along with a nice, chilled shot of vodka.

Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

Adapted from Gourmet, May 2008

(I roughly doubled the ingredients to make two tarts in two 9-inch fluted tart pans – definitely a good call, seeing that the first tart disappeared without so much as a crumb within the first hour it was baked, cooled, and introduced to my dear friends.)

Ingredients:

For Tart Shell:

2-3 tbspns whole almonds with skins, toasted and cooled

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 stick of cold unsalted butter. cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large egg yolk

3 1/2 tbspns fruity olive oil, preferably French (I used regular olive oil, which turned out just fine)

For Lemon Curd:

3 large lemons

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tspns cornstarch

2 whole large eggs plus 2 egg yolks

1/2 stick of cold unsalted butter. cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tbspns of the same olive oil (recipe calls for French & fruity)

Preparation:

For Tart Shell:

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Pulse almonds with flour, sugar, and sea salt to a fine powder in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.

Add yolk and oil and pulse until just incorporated and a very soft and somewhat sticky dough has formed.

Spread dough evenly over bottom and up side of tart pan with offset spatula. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Bake shell until golden brown all over, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

For Lemon Curd:

Grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 tablespoons, then squeeze 3/4 cup juice from lemons.

Whisk together lemon zest and juice, sugar, cornstarch, whole eggs, and yolks in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking, 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter and oil until smooth and shiny.

Pour lemon curd into cooled tart shell and chill until set, at least 2 hours.

Notes:

• Tart shell can be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.
•• Assembled tart can be chilled up to 4 hours.

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