May 21, 2011

Lemon Basil Tart

Today was a gorgeous sunny (summer?) day, so I went out for a bike ride and gander at the farmers markets in my area. Strawberries, rhubarb, spring greens, and asparagus were all tempting but I had one mission: finally start growing my own herbs! After a quick trip to target for all of my backyard gardening needs here is the result:

Julep Mint, Genovese Basil, and Thyme

I settled on thyme, mint, and genovese basil. Genovese basil has a softer leaf than normal basil and is preferred for pesto. I thought that the softer leaf would be best for combining into fruity summer desserts like lemon tart, one of my favorite unexpected twists.

When it comes to baking I trust Ina Garten and Alton Brown implicitly, so I took an Ina crust and tweaked an Alton Brown lemon curd recipe.

With the curd, I ended up doubling the recipe because there never seems to be enough in typical curd recipes for an 11" tart. On this end, it was impossible to melt two sticks of butter into the egg, sugar, and lemon after the double broiler. I ended up pouring the thickened mixture into a sauce pan on EXTREMELY LOW HEAT and whisked in the butter that way.  It was quite an indulgence, watching two sticks of butter melt into the curd.  I think I avoided any curdled eggs, but to be safe I could have strained the mixture through a sieve.

I finely chopped three large leaves of my lovely new basil plant and added at the end off the heat to avoid any wilted bitter herb taste.  The result is a light basil flavor with pretty green flecks throughout the tart.

Lemon Basil Tart
Gorgeous day produced a gorgeous and delicious tart!  Now to deal with ten leftover egg whites . . .

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