Lemon pie is a summertime favorite. There's really no better finish to a meal this time of year. The sweet tartness refreshes and satisfies your sweet tooth without being too heavy.
I prefer no-bake pies during the heat of summer, but this one — actually, a tart — is worth firing up the oven. It's delicious, beautiful, rich and creamy with a crust that's so worth the trouble. In other words, this pie is sublime — a sweet solution to perking up your summertime blues.
The flavor of almonds in the crust sets this tart apart from other lemon pies. Not only does it have the wonderful taste that almond extract provides, toasted almonds in the crust add a nice crunch and a wonderful dimension of flavor that only toasted almonds can give. The crust is not too sweet, but sweet enough to offset the tartness of a filling that calls for not only fresh lemon juice — and a good bit of it, at that — but also shreds of lemon rind.
This is the kind of dessert you can make in two parts. Make the crust the day or morning before, followed by the filling later. The tart may be served at room temperature, but as a summer dessert, it's so much better if you chill it in the refrigerator for several hours. Chilling also helps to set the filling all the more. If you serve this too warm, the filling will ooze all over the plate. Nothing wrong with that if it's just you, but spilled filling doesn't make for the lovely presentation that lemon tarts demand. Freshly whipped cream is the crowning touch to each slice.
Total cost for this tart was under $8, not counting pantry staples, such as flour, sugar, extract and eggs. Total satisfaction? Incomparable. And it makes an excellent addition to your menu for something a little different this year.
Creamy Lemon Tart With Almond Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
Place the flour, almonds, sugar, butter, almond extract and salt in a food processor. Cover and pulse until blended. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture forms a soft dough.
Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. If you don't have a tart pan, don't run out and get one unless you want the fluted edges. A 9-inch springform pan will work just fine. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until top sides of crust become golden brown and bottom is a little puffy. Watch while it's baking so it doesn't get overdone. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt until blended. Add butter; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Pour into crust.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.
A toast to the military
There's a new wine available now through the end of September, and with every bottle sold, Josh Cellars will donate $1, up to $240,000, to Operation Gratitude. This is a nationwide organization of volunteers who send care packages to those serving in the military at home and overseas, as well as veterans, first responders, military children and others.
With hints of cherries, coffee and chocolate, Josh Cellars Military Salute Edition Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99 per bottle) makes a wonderful hostess gift to take to parties or a nice sipping wine to serve at your summertime picnics.
Email Anne Braly at email@example.com.