Flo Braker is a fabulous baker and her book Baking for All Occasions is filled with wonderful creations. One of our all time favorites, which is a hit with everyone who tries it, is her Tangy Lemon Custard Tart with Pomegranate Gelee. Decorate the top with halved cherries and blueberries and it makes a perfect dessert for the Fourth of July, but don’t be limited to these fruits; use any stone fruits you’d like!Print
Flo Braker’s Tangy Lemon Custard Tart with Pomegranate Gelee
1 cup (8 fl ounces/240 ml) Bottled Pomegranate Juice, preferably from Pom brand
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (5 1/2 ounces/160 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract
4 ounces (1 stick/115 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 – inch slices
Lemon Curd Filling
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces/150 grams) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (3 fluid ounces/75 ml) strained fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon strained fresh lime juice
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 fl ounces/90 ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces/75 grams) pomegranate seeds
To make the Pomegranate Gelee
Pour the pomegranate juice into a measuring cup. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface, and set aside for about 5 minutes to soften. Then pour into a small saucepan, add the sugar and heat over low heat just to dissolve the gelatin and sugar. Do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and pour into an 8-inch round pan. The mixture should be about 1/8 inch deep. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
To make the pastry
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, lemon zest, lime zest, and salt and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and vanilla just to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and continue to pulse just until the ingredients come together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface. Beginning at the far end, and using the heel of your hand, push a small amount of the dough (about the size of an extra-large egg) away from you, smearing it on the work surface. Repeat with the remaining dough in this manner, give it a couple more strokes to bring it together into a smooth, homogenous unit. (This kneading technique . . . is known as fraisage.) Flatten the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and slightly firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Have ready a 9 1/2 by 1-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll, let sit at room temperature until it is malleable enough to roll yet still cool to the touch, 15-30 minutes. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Or, roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch circle 1/8 to 3/16 inch thick. (Although this is a tart, the pastry is more like a pie pastry . . . ) Roll up the pastry around the rolling pin, and suspend the pin about 1 inch above the pan. Aligning the edge of the dough with the rim of the pan farthest from you, unroll it toward you. Then gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it into the crevices and up the sides. Trim away the excess dough by rolling the pin over the top of the pan. (Save any scraps for another use, if desired.)
Bake the tart shell until it is pale gold and the surface no longer looks wet, raw, or shiny, 15 to 20 minutes. Check after baking for about 5 minutes. If the pastry is puffed up, prick the center of the blistered area with a metal or wooden skewer or fork tines to release the steam. Don’t prick more than is needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook while you prepare the filling. Leave the oven on.
To make the Lemon Custard Filling
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork just to combine. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and lime juice and mix just until blended. To remove any unincorporated egg to create a smooth filling, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over another bowl. Stir in the cream slowly just until blended.
Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips), and carefully pour the filling into the pastry shell. Place the tart on the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the filling appears set yet shiny on top, the center quivers a bit when the pan is gently shaken, and the edges of the crust are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan for about 20 minutes. Set the tart pan on a narrower elevated surface, such as a tin can, so the bottom of the pan is released as the metal rim slips down. Return the tart to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
At least 30 minutes before serving, remove the gelle from the refrigerator. With the tip of a paring knife, cut lines about 1/8 inch apart in both directions (the pattern will look like graph paper) to form the pomegranate jewels.
With a wide metal spatula (similar to what you would use to turn pancakes), lift the gelee over the lemon filling. Then scatter the pomegranate seeds over the top. Refrigerate the tart just long enough to chill the gelee pieces, about 30 minutes.
Cut the tart in to wedges with a sharp knife.
To set the gelee like we have in the picture above, wait to make the gelee until the tart is baking. Make the gelee as described above, but instead of pouring it into its own pan, once the tart is slightly cool and the lemon filling has started to set, gently pour the gelee over the tart, swirling the pan slightly as you pour, to cover the full tart. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelee is set. Once gelee is set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan, remove the tart from the tart pan and cover with fruit or just serve the jeweled tart as is. Enjoy!
By Flo Braker