My favorite desserts are chocolate and lemon. Usually chocolate takes precedence, unless it's a REALLY good, REALLY lemon-y dessert. Let me tell you, this one ranks in the top five all-time lemon desserts I've ever made and it could possibly be number one!
The silky, lemon sabayon filling is wonderful and the sweet pine nut crust is a unique and delicious compliment to the tartness of the lemon. Perfection, I tell you! The pine nut crust can even be made a day in advance and the lemon sabayon the morning you'd like to serve this dessert.
The most time-consuming part of making this dessert is making the sabayon. If you have a little patience and 15 minutes to devote to stirring, it is well worth the effort. The sabayon is slightly caramelized under the broiler after filling the tart, similar to a crème brûlée . You can top it with whipped cream or plain raspberries, as I did.
I don't often make dessert for my husband and myself. But when we're invited to a dinner party I enjoy offering to bring dessert and try to make a little extra for us. The bonus mini tarts were refrigerated and enjoyed the next day ;)
If you know someone who is a lemon lover you need to make this for them. It will knock their Christmas Stockings off :)
Christmas baking has just begun here. I bought myself an early Christmas baking gadget a month ago and purchased this adorable Nordic Ware Gingerbread House pan.
I also received a beautiful copper Christmas tree cookie cutter recently as a gift so made a few of my favorite gingerbread cut-outs and decorated them with royal icing. The moose in the background was a gift my my daughter that she purchased in Jackson Hole, WY on a ski trip. You can find my very own gingerbread recipe here and royal icing recipes here. It's a little milder than most and goes over well, even with my grandsons who helped me decorate my first gingerbread cakes from my new cakelet pan :) Not too bad for 3 and 6-year-old boys ♥.
Lemon Tart with Pine Nut Crust
Makes 8-10 servings
Make the Pine Nut Crust first...
Ingredients for the Lemon Sabayon:
3 large eggs, cold
3 large egg yolks, cold
1-1/8 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
9 tablespoons (4-1/2 ounces) cold butter, cut into 6 pieces
Ingredients for the Pine Nut Crust:
This is 1/2 the original recipe and makes enough dough for one 9-10 inch tart pan plus another 6 inch or two mini 4 inch tart pans.
Butter and flour for the tart pan
1 cup pine nuts (5 oz)
1/4 cup granulated sugar1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8 T (4 ounces) unsalted butter (I used salted), room temperature
1/2 large egg (I break an egg into a small bowl, whisk briefly to combine white and yolk and measure out 1/8 cup, which equals 1/2 egg)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the pine nut crust:
Place the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the sugar and flour and continue to pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Add the butter, egg, and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate all the ingredients (the dough can be mixed by hand or in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Dough can be frozen, wrapped well, for up to 1 month.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and refrigerate it while the oven preheats. I used a non-stick tart pan so skipped this step.
Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Use your fingertips to press the chilled pine nut dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough.
Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, then rotate it and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool while you make the filling. Don't worry about small cracks. May be made 1 day ahead.
To make the lemon sabayon:
When ready to start the lemon sabayon, have the lemon juice and butter ready by the side of the stove.
Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl you will be using for the sabayon. You don't want the bowl to touch the boiling water beneath. I used a double boiler.
Meanwhile, in the bowl you will be using over the boiling water, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.
Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be 10 to 15 minutes, possibly less, depending on your stove.
Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Preheat the broiler. While the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Leaving the door open, brown the top of the sabayon, rotating the tart if necessary for even color; this will take only a few seconds, so do not leave the oven. Remove the tart from the broiler and let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Adapted from Epicurious, Courtesy of Bouchon Cookbook