Since I met Dorie Greenspan this summer, I've made a few of her recipes, and there hasn't been a loser in the bunch. The latest trial was a recipe from her cookbook Baking: From My Home to Yours for a lovely lemon tart. (The recipe can be found online in several spots, including here.)
If I'm going to make a dessert without chocolate or peanut butter, I think lemon is my next favorite flavor. I love lemon curds, cakes, glazes, pies, you name it. Flipping through Baking, the recipe titled "The Most Extraordinary Lemon Cream Tart" caught my eye. Dorie wrote that she learned to make this cream from Pierre Hermé, and "it is the ne plus ultra of the lemon world."
The filling starts out like a lemon curd recipe, but the twist is that you pour the curd into a blender and blend in a fair amount of butter, creating a light and creamy texture quite different from your typical curd.
The dirty little secret is just how much butter you add to that curd: 2 full sticks plus 5 tablespoons! It makes the filling akin to a Hollandaise sauce but with sugar. When you consider that the tart crust contains more than a stick of butter already, bringing the total amount of butter in the 9" tart to about a pound, it makes you realize just how special this dessert is.
And it is very special. Simple. Delicious. Irresistible. Extraordinary.