I am a chocoholic and I have no desire to treat this addiction. However, my appreciation for non-chocolate desserts has increased as of late and I have been enjoying trying out new recipes.
One such recipe is this lemon pie courtesy of the Tartine cookbook.
This humble pie places lemons on a pedestal emphasizing all of their bright, sweet, tart, and bitter flavors.
What amazes me about this recipe is that the whole lemon (minus the seeds) is used to make the lemon filling. Typically, when making lemon desserts, you use only the juice and to get the full lemon experience, you have to use a lot of it.
Here, thin slices of the whole lemon are tenderized in sugar for a few hours, whisked with eggs, and gently sandwiched between flaky pie crust. The result, a cross between lemon curd and marmalade and it’s all lemon. Definitely one of my favorite pies I have made so far.
I also tried Tartine’s pie crust recipe and it is making me question my previous loyalty to this pie crust. I could hardly believe how flakey and flavorful it was (probably due to the amount of butter) and I am already trying to come up with an excuse to make it again.
Makes one 9-inch pie
Courtesy of Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Note: I highly recommend a big dollop of unsweetened whipped cream as a garnish. The creaminess brings the dessert together and is perfect with the lemon.
For the pie crust:
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup + 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
For the lemon filling:
2 medium lemons
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
sugar for decorating
Make the dough. In a small bowl, add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep very cold until ready to use.
Using a food processor, put the flour in the work bowl. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and scatter the pieces over the flour. Pulse briefly until the mixture forms large crumbs and some of the butter is still in pieces the size of peas. Add the water-and-salt mixture and pulse for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but is not completely smooth. You should still be able to see some butter chunks.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into 2 equal balls and shape each ball into a disk 1-inch thick. Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or for up to overnight.
Begin lemon filling. Slice the lemons paper-thin (this would be a great time to use a mandolin, but I was too lazy), discarding the thicker stem end and any seeds. Put them in a nonreactive bowl (stainless steel or glass) and, using a spoon or your hands, toss with the sugar. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours or for up to overnight.
Assemble pie. Use 1 dough round to line a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, easing it into the bottom and sides and leaving a 1-inch overhand. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and salt together until blended. Add the eggs to the lemon mixture, mixing thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined tart pan. the mixture will be very liquid, so you must evenly distribute the lemon pieces in the pan.
To make the egg wash, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Brush the rim of the dough with the egg wash to help the top round adhere. Lay the second dough round over the filling and trim the overhand for both round to 1/4 inch. Crimp the edge as you would for a pie, making sure you have a good seal. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and then sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top. Chill for about 30 minutes in refrigerator. While the pie is chilling, preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut a few decorative slits in the top of the pie for air vents, and place the tart pan on the lined baking sheet. Bake the pie until it is deep gold on top and the filling is bubbling, about 40 minutes. If the top is coloring too quickly, place a piece of parchment loosely over the top. Let the pie cool completely before slicing to allow filling to set properly. Serve at room temperature with lightly whipped unsweetened cream.