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Author Notes: This recipe started life as Julia Child's Tarte au Citron, as found in From Julia Child's Kitchen, but other than the dough, bears little more than a passing resemblance to the original at this point. The key to making a light, flaky pie crust is keeping the dough chilled while working on it, so bear that in mind while making your dough. This recipe is scaled to make a single 9" shell; if you make extra dough, portion off the excess after you finish mixing the dough, and follow the steps to refrigerate it separately, or freeze it. And for the compote, I use blackberries, but I'll usually mix in some amount of blueberries or raspberries for flavor; feel free to experiment with your own blend of berries. —Walker Mills
Makes 1 tart
Vanilla Almond Tart Shell
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, processed into fine meal
- 1 tablespoon baker's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon chilled shortening, in chunks
- 1/4-1/3 cups ice water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg
- Combine the flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk with a balloon whisk to combine.
- Add the butter and shortening, and toss to coat. Place the mixing bowl in the freezer for 30 seconds.
- Mix until only some pea-sized pieces remain; the remainder should have a consistency like corn meal. Briefly chill in the freezer again.
- Gradually add ice water to the mixture until dough begins to form, but is not damp or sticky.
- Form the dough into a 4-5" disc, and flour its entire surface. Wrap it in plastic wrap, then place it in a resealable bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Roll out your pie dough, and place it in your 9" pie dish, trimming off any excess dough. Fold the edge of the crust over and under itself, and push up a ridge along the edge of the dish, patching the shell with excess dough if necessary.
- Prick the bottom of the shell five or six times, then place a piece of parchment paper (foil works, if parchment paper is unavailable) in the shell, and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans/lentils.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Remove the weights, prick the bottom of the shell again, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the shell is evenly golden and crisp.
- Lightly beat the egg, and brush the bottom of the shell with it. Bake for 30-60 seconds, just until the wash is set. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before filling.
Hazelnut Lime Filling & Blackberry Compote
- 1 prebaked tart shell
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 3-4 limes
- 1-2 cups blackberries, or other berries
- sugar, to taste
- creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Roast the hazelnuts for 12 minutes, then wrap them in a towel to steam for 1 minute. Remove them from the towel, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Deskin and finely chop them.
- Zest the limes, and set the zest aside, then juice them, and strain the juice. If you do not have 1/2 cup of strained lime juice, continue zesting and juicing limes until you do. Cutting limes lengthwise will yield more juice then crosswise, if you're using a reamer.
- Lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the lime zest and sugar, and beat until the mixture stiffens. Gradually beat in the lime juice.
- Spread half of the hazelnuts on the bottom of the prebaked shell, then fill it.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is has puffed up and lightly browned, and the top is set. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, add the berries and crush them with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook over moderate heat until the berries have all burst and the mixture resembles a syrup. Depending on the ripeness of your fruit and desired tartness, add sugar to taste; I usually only add a tablespoon or two, if any.
- Strain the compote to remove most of the seeds
- Once the filled shell has rested, spread some amount of compote over the top to form an even layer, and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on top. Serve immediately with the remaining compote, and a dollop of creme fraiche.