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A Cooking Adventure with Thom


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Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart

Richmond Times Dispatch - February 28, 2007 issue
 Servings: 8-10

 

 

When I saw this in the newspaper I could feel all those saliva glands at work in my mouth.  Oh boy, this must be a really sour pie.  I just couldn't help myself, I had to give it a try.  It can be a little daunting to get a consistency that is sliceable.   The article talked about California's Meyer lemons, with a distinctive perfume and sweet, delicate flesh.  I don't know about that, I just use the plain old lemons I can find at the grocery store.  Maybe the Meyer lemons make a difference.

 

Ingredients

 


FOR THE CRUST:

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cups sugar, divided

1 large egg

to teaspoon almond extract, or to taste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

 

FOR THE CONFIT:
8 lemons, preferably thin-skinned and seedless
cup sugar

2 Tablespoons water

Cooking Method


Crust:  Combine flour, salt, butter and 1 cup sugar in a bowl.  Mix with your fingers until it forms flaky crumbs and lumps.  Mix in egg, almond extract and lemon juice.  Continue to mix until it clumps; it may seem very dry at first.  Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 day ahead of baking.

Confit:  Slice off and discard ends of lemons.  Slice 5 crosswise, peel and all, as thinly as possible.  Remove any seeds and place in a bowl.  Peel skin, including white pith, from remaining 3 lemons, then slice thinly crosswise and add to bowl.  Add cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water.  Toss and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Place lemon slices and their juice in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Cook down until lemons are candied and small amount of liquid in pan is sticky and syrupy, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

To bake, preheat oven to 350.  Divide dough in half and form each half into a ball.  Roll one ball until large enough to fit into a 9-inch round tart pan.  Dough will be crumbly (more shortbread than pie crust); if it falls apart, press it back together.  Spoon Confit over crust, spreading evenly.  Roll out second ball of dough and place on top, sealing edges but making sure no crust overlaps the rim (or tart will be difficult to remove later).

Bake until edges of tart are lightly golden, about 35 minutes, then sprinkle top with remaining cup sugar.  Return to oven for about 10 more minutes; edges should be lightly golden and crust cooked through but not browned.  Serve warm or cooled. 

     
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