The combination of lemon and espresso may sound strange, but let me assure you it is, in fact, amazing and ethereal. The bright citrus of the lemon zest lilts through the darkness of the espresso like a solo flute melody dancing through a haunting chorus of cellos. It's a flavor combination I discovered at a small coffee shop down the street from one of my old apartments where one of their specialities was espresso pulled with a strip of lemon zest packed into the grounds. I was reminded of it about a month ago when I tried a scoop of lemon espresso ice cream. The flavors enveloped in a creamy base were even more wonderful than just in an espresso. I knew immediately I needed to create something inspired by them.
I started with making a custard tart, but then decided I wanted the filling a little lighter. So I tried again making a tart with a chilled custard filling with whipped cream folded in. This then reminded me a bit of the center of one of my favorite bonbons, so I decided to line the tart crust with a layer of dark chocolate ganache. Yum. It's a labor of love, but it's worth it.
One word of caution, because the cream is infused with the coffee beans it is caffeinated. So, if you're sensitive to caffeine and are planning on serving this as a dessert, you might want to use decaf! (And as testers noted, if you want a more delicately flavored filling, you can halve the quantity of coffee beans - I'm afraid I tend to go for big bold flavors over delicate) - fiveandspice —fiveandspice
Who knew lemon and espresso would be so keen on each other? Adding a bed of bittersweet chocolate certainly doesn't hurt. As fiveandspice warns, the dough is very fragile and can be challenging to work with, but it makes for an incredibly tender, tasty crust and patches well, if yours gets dismembered in transferring to the pan. If you're hoping for a delicately flavored filling, you may want to scale back the espresso beans to 1/2 cup. —Kristen Miglore