Lime and Berry Tart

 

A funny thing happened to me at the grocery store the other day.  As I was reaching for yet another bag of potatoes that looked like they’d seen better days (it’s been a loooong winter, people), out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big, beautiful pile of perfectly round, bright green limes.  I had to have them immediately.  They looked so un-potato like, so springy, so citrus-y and delicious, I may have gone a little overboard.  I proceeded to fill a plastic bag to bursting with 30 some limes.  They looked so cute in my cart during my trek around the store, I could hardly stand it.

So, yeah, you think I’m ready for spring much?  It’s this time of year when I start craving things that remind me of summer and better (read: warmer) times.  As I was unpacking all those limes, the memory of a beautiful lime and blackberry tart flashed into my mind.  I had made it toward the end of last summer for a dinner party, one where we had sat on the patio drinking wine and playing board games until well past our bed times, and eating the tart from paper plates with plastic forks.   

I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next.  I’m not quite ready to go enjoy it on the patio yet, as I’m not a big fan of freezing rain, but it’s almost as good eaten from a couch, watching the rainy spring day through the window. 

Lime and Berry Tart

Adapted from Bon Appetit

(Note: The original recipe calls for blueberries and blackberries to top this tart. I used strawberries and blackberries, but I imagine the sky is the limit here.  I’m sure raspberries would be awesome, too.  Go nuts.)

For the lime curd filing:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

For the crust:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large pinch of salt

To Top:

  • Pint of whatever berries you so choose
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry  jam
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (not necessary if you’d rather not, but I love the gloss it gives to the finished tart)

Set fine metal strainer over medium bowl and set aside. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a very gentle simmer.  It’s incredibly helpful to have this all set up ahead of time- trust me. 

 

In another medium metal or glass bowl (make sure it sits well on top of your sauce pan before you start), whisk eggs, egg yolks, and sugar to blend. Whisk in lime juice and zest. Set the bowl of the saucepan of simmering water. Now gently whisk until your curd starts to thicken, which will take somewhere between 6-10 minutes. If you have a thermometer, it should register 180 degrees.   Once it’s thickened, pour the curd through the strainer you prepared earlier.  (You might have to press some of the curd through with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Remove the strainer and add the butter into the curd.  Let it sit for a minute, then gently whisk it in, until it’s all incorporated.  Take a piece of plastic wrap and cover the curd, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the curd, so it doesn’t get all gunky while it chills.  Put the curd in the refrigerator until it’s cold, at least 4 hours.  If you want to do this part ahead, you can.  It’ll keep well for 2 or three days in the fridge.    

Now for the crust.  With and electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in medium bowl until it’s well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg yolk; beat to blend. Now add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until mixture resembles large peas. Use your hands to gently knead the dough, until it just comes together. It’ll be slightly crumbly.

Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter tart pan. One with a removable bottom would be great here, but I have a ceramic one and it worked fine, too.  Break dough into small chunks, then press dough evenly up sides and onto bottom of pan using your fingers. Cover and chill 1 hour.

 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Uncover crust and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

If you used a tart pan with a removable bottom, now is the time to remove the tart from the pan and put it on a plate. If you used a dish like mine, obviously, that’s not necessary (or advisable, as your tart crust will most likely wind up in about four hundred pieces). Take the lime curd from the fridge and spread it at the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange whatever berries you choose on top. 

Put the jam and corn syrup in a small microwaveable bowl and cook for about 15 seconds.  Once heated, stir until everything is incorporated and smooth.  Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the berries.  If you really want to be fancy about it, I bet some lime zest would look gorgeous on top, too.

 

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