Lemon Custard Tart with Honey Almond Crust

Guest blogger Kelly Madey offers a perfect recipe good for both Easter and Passover.

At the risk of sounding like a gimmicky infomercial,
Are you tired of making dessert from scratch,
Only to be left with a kitchen full of dishes,
And a bad taste in your mouth?

Do you love lemon pie but can’t seem to get it quite right?
It’s too tart. It’s too sweet;
And don’t forget the incredibly shrinking pie crust.
There has got to be a better way!

All kidding aside, with Easter, Passover, and Mother’s Day just around the corner,
I am heeding my mother’s words of wisdom when it comes to hosting a holiday gathering:
Keep it simple!

This tart recipe is the perfect way to showcase the brightness of spring. It features lots of pucker worthy lemon juice and zest,

lemons_kelly madey

and fresh local eggs from Rick’s Egg Farm.

rick's eggs_kelly madey

The custard tart is a one bowl, whisk-and-pour kind of filling. I love the fact that it can be made a day ahead. This saves me valuable time on the actual holiday, so that I can roam from room to room spraying lemon scented air freshener to give the illusion of a good spring cleaning.

The eggs produce a creamy custard filling which get a boost in the thickening department from a little potato starch.

Potato starch_kelly madey

If you are not familiar with this starch, get to know it. It is very similar in fine powdery texture to cornstarch but potato starch has the advantage of being flavorless. It thickens faster than cornstarch too, and at a lower temperature. It’s also used extensively in Passover dishes, since regular corn starch is not kosher for Passover.

Besides thickening, the starch helps to protect the eggs from curdling in this recipe.

I often use potato starch to thicken sauces and gravy. It is the secret ingredient in my cake recipes because it gives the cake a tender crumb and helps to retain moisture.

And now for the crust….

Instead of the mess making potential of a traditional pie crust, this tart has an unusual and tasty honey almond crust featuring local Buckingham Valley Honey, a hint of cinnamon, and a good dose of melted butter. I love how the almond and honey complements the citrus filling.

Buckingham Valley Honey_kelly madey

The crust does not require rolling, and it is naturally gluten free, thanks to almond flour (also known as almond meal).

Almond Meal_kelly madey

Remarkably, it tastes like a giant graham cracker baked in a tart pan.

crust_kelly madey

There a few pointers for successful tart baking. I brush the tart pan with melted butter to ensure an easy release.

I also bake the tart on a lined cookie sheet to catch any melted butter that may escape.

Be aware that the oven temperature is lower than normal, at just 300 degrees, so that the almonds in the crust don’t burn. The slow and low temperature ensures a creamy textured custard too.

The baked tart should be cooled to room temperature, then chilled for several hours to set. I prefer to chill the tart overnight.

When it comes to serving the tart, you have options. It is perfectly fine, as is:

lemon tart simple_kelly madey

Or you can pile it high with fresh berries, and whipped cream. I am a sucker for whipped cream, sometimes I whip up a batch of slightly sweetened whipped cream using Rich n’ Pure heavy cream available at None Such Farm Market in Buckingham. This cream has a high milk fat content, which results in a very thick whipped cream with excellent staying power. This is the only cream that I can whip a full day ahead without the risk of it deflating or separating.

Whatever way you serve this tart, it is sure to be a simple and sweet ending to your holiday meal. Happy Spring!

lemon tart with berries_kelly madey

For the recipe, continue reading here…

Lemon Custard Tart with Honey Almond Crust

(almond crust adapted from Gluten Free Fix)

INGREDIENTS

8 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
2 ½ cups almond flour (also known as almond meal)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 TBSP honey
4 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1 cup lemon juice (from 5-6 lemons)
¾ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cup sugar
1 TBSP potato starch
Fresh raspberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar for serving (optional)

HOW TO

  1. Place 1 TBSP of butter in a small bowl and microwave until melted. Brush a 10 inch tart pan with the butter and set aside.
  2. Stir together the almond flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt remaining 7 TBSP of butter and honey in the microwave until butter is melted. Add to the almond flour. Stir until combined. The mixture will be soft and wet. Press the almond mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10 inch tart pan. Place the tart crust in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bake tart for 10 minutes on a lined cookie sheet.
  4. In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, yolk, lemon juice, milk, zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and potato starch. Add sugar to the eggs and whisk until combined.
  5. Remove tart crust from oven, pour custard into tart pan, and bake for 55 minutes or until custard has thickened and has a jiggly texture when gently shaken.
  6. Let tart cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Dust tart with powdered sugar, and serve with fresh berries and whipped cream (optional).
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