Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Yes, yes, I made another lime curd tart, again. But this time only because a certain friend celebrated her (non) birthday for the n-th time in the month and couldn't stomach another piece of cake (especially after the epic one I made for her). So to a lunch menu lined up with Arabic mandy lamb rice and sweets from Dubai, I needed to show up with something refreshing. With summer raging throughout the northern hemisphere, berry import of all types are plump, fat and fresh to Singapore. We get strawberries the size of golf balls complete with stems.
Too bad all the stems were plucked off for the tart. I tested out an eggless sweet crust pastry from Stephanie and amazingly things worked out pretty well despite my virgin attempt at rolling out a 13-inch tart shell to cover my oversized tart tin. (I didn't realize it was an 11-inch when I bought it!) The basil flavor here was quite mild, the only way I can think of more reinforcement is to stick in some fresh leaves into the syrup reduction while it is cooling down. If you're afraid of rolling and lining a whole tart tin, make mini ones like these.
Basil Strawberry Lime Curd Tart
Yield: an 11-inch round tart
Tart shell recipe from Stephanie Shih's Desserts for Breakfast, lime curd recipe similar as here.
Note: I modified the tart shell method to use a food processor as the speed is favorable in this hot and humid Singapore weather. Without the machine, rub the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. The basil sugar can be pounded with a mortar and pestle.
- 1 1/2 cups/210 grams flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 10 tablespoons/5 ounces butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 beaten egg
- 3 punnets fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 8-10 pieces fresh basil leaves
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup/1/2 stick/2 ounces butter
- 6 limes, zest grated and juiced, reserve some zest for garnish
Prepare macerated strawberries: In the bowl of a food processor, blitz the sugar and basil leaves till well combined. Place picked and cleaned strawberries in a non-reactive bowl, mix well with basil sugar, lemon juice and zest. Cover with cling film and let stand at room temperature for up to 3 hours.
Prepare the tart shell: While berries are macerating, prepare the tart shell. Combine the flour, dark brown sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse in short burst about 4-5 times until butter is the size of small peas. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla into the flour mixture. Gradually add the water just until a dough forms when pressed between your fingers. Do not over-mix. Form the dough into a flat disc, wrap with parchment paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Prepare the lime curd: Meanwhile, prepare the lime curd. Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Ensure that the top pan does not touch the water. Cook and continuously stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken, for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken more.
Bake the tart shell and prepare the syrup:Preheat oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until about 1/8-inch thickness and place in the tart pan, pressing the dough gently into the sides. Trim and discard any excess dough. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Return to the refrigerator and chill for at least 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, drain the macerated strawberries and reserve 1/2 cup of the strawberry soup. Strain out the basil leaves. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook the syrup till reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. When tart shell is ready to bake, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and weigh down with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove the weights and parchment paper, brush the base with beaten egg and continue to bake for 3 - 5 minutes more, until the entire tart crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Assemble the tart: Remove the tart shell from the tin and place it onto the serving platter. Spoon over lime curd and smooth it around to cover the tart base. Arrange macerated strawberries accordingly. Drizzle over about 2 tablespoons of strawberry syrup reduction (don't get carried away like I did here, else the syrup will overflow out of the tart, as seen). Garnish with some lime zest and serve.
Do ahead: All elements can be made ahead (which is why I love to make tarts!). Just bring everything to room temperature before assembly. I made the everything the day before, keeping the tart shell in the oven. The curd keeps, covered and refrigerated, for about 1 week. Macerated strawberries can be refrigerated for later use.
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