This week, Babes and I attended our very first Portland potluck - thrown by a coworker of his we’ve both known for some years now, with the intention of welcoming us to town.
We had tacos piled high with all sorts of glory, perfect tangy slaw with lime zest, and phyllo cups filled with spiced zucchini and black beans. Sitting outside on a beautiful evening, we ate wonderfully and shared great laughter and conversation. Then, we ate this amazing tart while a fire kept us warm. I couldn’t quite imagine a better way to get settled into a new place!
I have to confess, I love bringing show-stopper-esque dishes to potlucks. I might not always be fond of attention, but I sure do love when folks ooooh and ahhhh over something I’ve made completely from scratch. There is nothing humble about it, but I’m good at making beautiful and delicious things and I love to share them with other people! So this showy tart was the obvious choice for a first potluck in a new place. Plus, I knew I just had to make something with Oregon berries!
I’ve always loved lemon tarts topped with fresh berries, but never attempted one myself. So despite knowing there was a chance at failure, I was 100% convinced this was the thing to make after reading the recipe for a blackberry version of this tart over at Hummingbird High. Michelle combines a lemon cream filling from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco with a brown butter crust recipe from French pastry instructor, Paule Caillat. She then promptly tells us not to bother making any other recipe from her blog. This is the only important one. I wouldn’t be me if I could just read that and NOT make the tart, right?
And the best part, it turned out perfectly!
So, here it is - topped with fresh strawberries and blueberries from one of the many Portland Farmers Markets. I know this seems decadent and beautiful, but I promise - with just a few crafty skills you can definitely make this. With a little patience and a steady hand, you too can make a few pints of berries look just as perfect! But, if you’re feeling rushed, a whole bunch of berries sprinkled over the top would also be totally beautiful!
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 squares
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour, or 5oz
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup suar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 pint strawberries
about 1/2 cup blueberries
- First, we'll make the crust. Place butter, vegetable oil, water, sugar, and salt in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat. Let mixture come to a gentle boil and let cook 5-10 minutes, or until the butter has just started turning a golden brown and smells nutty.
- Remove from heat and start adding flour, a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. When the dough comes together, let it sit a few minutes until it is cool enough to handle.
- Turn dough into a 9 inch tart pan, and use hands to press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Bake crust at 410 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until it appears a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While the crust is cooling, you can get started on the filling! Create a double boiler by resting a rimmed glass or stainless steel bowl in a medium saucepan with a few inches of water in the bottom. The water should not touch the bottom of your bowl.
- While your water is heating over medium heat, whisk together lemon juice, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, and salt in the bowl. Continue whisking and cooking the mixture for about ten minutes, until it gets thick enough for your whisk to leave a trail and registers 180 on a quick-read thermometer (if you like to temp your food!). Be sure you're continuously whisking the entire time so as not to let the eggs cook too fast.
- Remove bowl from saucepan, and stir gently while the curd cools for a minute or two.
- Once it's cooled to about 140 degrees, add butter one tablespoon at a time, using an immersion blender (or a regular one if you don't have an immersion blender) to completely integrate the butter before adding the next piece.
- Once you've incorporated all the butter, fill your tart crust with the cream, and top with berries!
- I quartered strawberries, then started on the outer edge placing a full ring of berry quarters around the outside of the circle. I moved inward from there, placing a second ring of strawberry quarters, then circles of blueberries until reaching the center and just filling it in with a few.
If you like, garnish with a small pile of lemon zest!