There must be something particularly appealing about sunny, yellow lemons in mid-winter. Their draw may be practical in part- the rare fruit that survives and thrives when most others are long gone. But I think there’s something more…a brightness and astringency that wake up the taste buds and remind us of warmer days. Mark Bittman wrote about using lemons in winter recipes today in today’s New York Times, dreaming up a lemon confit shortbread tart that already has me salivating at 7 am. Coincidentally, when we asked our friend Natalia, a devoted baker, to make dessert for a dinner party last week, she brought over this delightful lemon chocolate tart that comes from Complete Baking by Martha Day.
The pairing of lemon and chocolate was novel to me, but worked in that the lemon took center stage while the chocolate came through more subtly in a cocoa crust and chocolate curls on top. For those who love lemon curd, like me, this tart is a tangy and luscious treat. And frankly, it solves the eternal problem of fruity vs. chocolately dessert. (Perhaps others don’t see fruity vs. chocolatey as much of a problem, but it’s always a concern for me.)
Although lemons seem to be the “it” food for the winter this year, this tart would be equally at home as the delicious end to an al fresco summer meal. Thanks to Natalia for finding and sharing this tasty recipe.
Lemon chocolate tart by Martha Day (serves about 8)
for the crust:
6 1/4 oz (180 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz (30 g) icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 t salt
4 oz (115 g) butter or margarine
1 T water
for the filling:
8 3/4 oz (240 g) caster (superfine) sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
5 1/2 fl oz (170 mL) fresh lemon juice
5 1/2 fl oz (170 mL) whipping (heavy) cream
chocolate curls, for decoration
1) Grease a 10 in (25 cm) tart tin. [The one I used was only 9 inch]
2) For the crust, sift the flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt
into a bowl. Set aside.
3) Melt the butter and water over a low heat. Pour over the flour
mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth and the
flour has absorbed all the liquid.
4) Press the dough evenly over the base and side of the prepared tart
tin. Refrigerate the tart shell while preparing the filling.
5) Preheat a baking sheet in a 375 F / 190 C oven.
6) Whisk the sugar and eggs until the sugar is dissolved. Add the
lemon rind and juice and mix well. Add the cream. Taste the mixture
and add more lemon juice or sugar if needed. It should taste tart but
7) Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake on the hot sheet
until the filling is set, 20-25 minutes. Cool on a rack. When cool,
decorate with the chocolate curls.