IN HONOR OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY, I’m including the photo above of my father celebrating the occasion as the anniversary of the day he arrived in America in 1939 — and was welcomed by a band and a parade! (See last year’s post for more of the story.)
My family always celebrates the day, and I’ve come to think of it as a kind of holiday to celebrate immigration. It has never meant more to me than this year, because last fall I went to Mannheim, Germany, the city where my father and his family lived, and attended a commemoration of the deportation of Jews from the southwestern region of Germany (Baden) to a concentration camp in France on October 22, 1940. Fortunately my father had the foresight to get out of Germany before it was too late, and the great luck to come to America — and that is something to celebrate.
So what would I make (besides more of those filo pastries) to go with a bubbly beverage or two?
I am not a great fan of the “traditional” corned beef and cabbage (my father had corned beef on rye, which was much better!).
Since I hadn’t made a pie for last Saturday’s PI Day I decided to make a lemon tart. It’s so rich that I rarely make it. . . but what better occasion than this? Now, if I just can find something green to decorate it. . .
FRENCH LEMON TART
First you make the lemon curd. This is not a traditional method of making lemon curd, but it is foolproof — as long as you keep stirring and don’t let it boil.
1 cup sugar
9 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
1. Cream the sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth, then add eggs and egg yolks and beat again.
2. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry — it will come back together when heated.
3. Put the mixture in a medium saucepan and heat over moderately low heat, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture boil.
4. Cook until thickened — when the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes (or maybe a little less).
5. Take the mixture off the heat, and stir in the lemon zest. Let the curd cool, stirring every once in awhile to prevent a skin from forming. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
This pastry shell for the tart is an easy pat-in-the-pan version.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter sides and bottom of a tart pan
- In a medium bowl, combine butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar and salt
- Add enough flour to form a smooth, soft dough.
- Place dough in center of tart pan and press evenly on bottom and sides.
- Place tart pan in the center of the oven and bake until dough is firm and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before filling.
Put the two together for your lemon tart:
Fill the tart with cooled lemon curd (you may have a little leftover, which is nice for other things, and will keep well in the freezer). Put tart in the middle of an oven preheated to 325 degrees. Bake 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Refrigerate well before serving. If you have fresh berries, they’re nice for decoration.