My husband works a lot of evening and weekend shifts. Every once in a while I will be at home and suddenly realize that it’s Saturday night and that perhaps I am lame for not being out or having plans. If it was a Wednesday somehow it’s not that bad, but those weekend evenings sometimes hit me harder.
So when my husband magically had the whole weekend off — including Superbowl Sunday! — we barely knew what to do with ourselves.
A high school classmate of mine lives in town and is a football fan, so I sent him a text asking what his plans were. He replied that his roommates were having people over and we were welcome to join them, just bring some food to share. My reply said, “Great, I am thinking of bringing pie.” His reply? “Awesome! And my roommate would be so happy if it was gluten-free.”
It’s not that making gluten-free food is impossible. It’s not. But pastry crusts and bread are notoriously challenging to make gluten-free due to the importance of gluten in their structures. Also, the friend I was texting with is lactose-intolerant. Huh.
But no dairy or nut allergies, no vegans… Lemon curd tart with olive oil with adaptations it is!
This was one of those projects that was constantly two seconds from complete disaster. I ran out of eggs. I almost burned the almonds. The curd curdled. And while it was not the most delicious confection ever to come out of my kitchen, it was tasty, appreciated, and held a few good lessons.
The original recipe calls for a linzer pastry crust that already contains ground almonds, so I decided to use a combination of almond meal and ground coconut in lieu of flour. Where I should have veered farther, I think, is in changing the crust to a more cookie-like shell. Instead, I followed the premise of the original, including the egg, which made it chewy. With the less-fine almond and coconut pieces, I think a crispy crust would have accented the tart better. Lesson learned!
To use up the extra egg whites and for a bit of pizazz, I also whipped up some meringue that wasn’t in the original recipe. While it added some visual interest in principle, I under-beat it so it wasn’t as smooth as it should have been. Some lightly-sweetened whipped cream would have been nicer.
Overall, I liked it. I would be interested in making it again — all changes I did or wish I had made are reflected below. The filling was quite tart, but I liked it. The olive oil adds a nice smoothness to the dessert, too.
Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, May 2008
Makes 1 9-inch tart
The original recipe does not call for using a double-boiler method for the lemon curd. I’ve successfully made a number of curds and puddings, but this one needs a double-boiler. Mine started getting cooked egg bits and quickly straining it was the only way I salvaged it.
Also, butter does not contain lactose, but still contains dairy. If you are baking for someone with a dairy allergy and not lactose-intolerance, butter won’t work.
Gluten-free adaptation of crust
1/4 cup almonds with skins, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
Lemon curd filling
3 large lemons
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 whole large eggs plus 2 large yolks
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil (preferably French)
1.) Pulse almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt in a food processor until powdered finely. Add butter and pulse no more than 10 times until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add olive oil and pulse until just incorporated and a soft dough is formed. Spread dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough on the bottom and up the sides of the pan using an offset spatula. Chill dough for 30 minutes until firm.
2.) Preheat oven to 400F. Bake tart shell on middle rack 10-13 minutes until golden brown all over. Watch closely after 10 minutes as shell will burn quickly. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
3.) Zest and juice lemons. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of zest, 3/4 cup of juice, cornstarch, eggs and yolks in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil, while whisking, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and olive oil.
4.) Pour lemon curd into cool tart shell. Chill at least 2 hours until set before serving. Top, if desired, with lightly-sweetened whipped cream.