There are days when I miss everything about San Francisco but today is not one of them. When worrying about potentially breaking a sweat whilst picking lemons from your neighbor's tree (clad in a tank top and shorts) due to winter temps of 78°F is your biggest problem, I'd say, congratulations, life is pretty sweet! Friends who are not down here in sunny Los Angeles or Hawaii (I think it's actually hotter here in LA right now), I'm sorry!! I swear I'm not trying to rub it in and your summer days will come soon enough, I promise. Then you'll be looking back on these winter days fondly, wishing, praying for colder temps. When we first moved down to LA in August, all I could do was talk about SF. About how much I missed this restaurant. Or that coffee shop. Or those brisk morning walks to work. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss all of those things and more. But today in beautiful, sunny LA I'm not missing a thing and it sure does feel good to be in LA. Because life is good and when it hands you beautiful neighborhood lemon trees, you make this lemon curd macadamia nut tart!
It's one of those simple staples dressed up with some macadamia nuts (mac nuts) for texture and mega flavor and loads of fresh berries on top. Bonus points for adding these cute little mini meringue cookies/kisses from Nicole (Dula Notes). I made a smaller batch and subbed mac nuts for cacao nibs. They're cute, easy, and a great way to use some of those extra egg whites up! I got a little excited and picked some edible flowers from my garden to throw on top as well. Here's the thing about tarts, they can be as simple, fancy, or artsy as you want them to be. A few tarts I'm especially crushing on are Alanna's (Bojon Gourmet) Concord Grape + Walnut Frangipane Tart with a Gluten-Free Rosemary Crust, Gaby's (What's Gaby Cooking) Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Tart (that swirl, seriously though), and Nic's (A Brown Table) Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole-Rye Tartlets. All amazing and all totally different.
This tart starts out with a basic tart dough (adapted from Williams-Sonoma's recipe) and kicks it up a bit an extra egg yolk and a generous dose of finely chopped macadamia nuts. It's then filled with a bright lemon curd that practically screams spring (it's almost here guys!!). You could totally stop here or maybe dust the top with some powdered sugar. If you feel like getting artsy, break out the berries and have fun decorating! If you're looking for more colors and textures, make a batch of Nicole's meringue cookies (make 'em mini) and add those to the t'art supplies. Now if you extra crazy with the t'art supplies (which I am always in favor of), go out to your garden (or your local farmer's market) and pick (up) a few edible flowers. They will forever make anything look extra pretty and gourmet (even eggs, avocado toast, etc.).
And that's it. Seriously guys. Done! Perfect end of winter, pre-spring dessert!
P.s. Don't forget this is the last week to nominate your favorite blogs for the Saveur Food Blogger Awards. You have till Friday, so don't wait too long! And since I already shamelessly asked you for your support last week (whoops, I got excited), I'm gonna refrain from that this week and will instead remind you that there are a lot of awesome bloggers who deserve a nom and a nod, so if you love reading their blogs, let 'em know!
MACADAMIA NUT TART DOUGH
- 2 cold large egg yolks
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 1⁄4 c. (181 g.) all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 c. (50 g.) granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2/3 c. salted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
- 8 Tbsp. (113 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 c. (150 g.) granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 c. (8 oz.) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 12 Tbs. (~170 g.) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 oz. raspberries
- 2 oz. blueberries
- 2 oz. blackberries
- Edible flower blossoms
- Mini meringue cookies
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Stand mixer
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- 13-3/4" x 4-1/2" tart pan
- Pie weights or short-grain rice
- Double boiler or sauce pan with bowl
- Fine-mesh sieve/strainer
- Glass measuring cup
- Silicone spatula
MACADAMIA NUT TART DOUGH
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks and vanilla bean paste; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt, and macadamia nuts on low. Add butter and beat on medium-low speed until texture resembles a coarse meal. Add egg mixture and beat on low until dough just comes together but still crumbly.
- Transfer dough to a work surface, mold into a 3-inch by 8-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, around 30 minutes.
- Remove dough from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch-by-6-1/2-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.
- Grease and flour your pan. Fold the dough in half and carefully transfer to pan. Unfold the rectangle and carefully ease into pan, patting firmly into bottom and up sides of pan. If there is any excess, trim off by rolling your rolling pin across the top of pan. Press the dough into sides to push it a little bit above the rim. This will offset any shrinkage that may occur during baking. Dock your dough (by stabbing with fork prongs all over).
- Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. While chilling, position rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350°F.
- Line shell with foil being sure to cover the top edges of the tart completely (for even baking) and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of foil to see if the dough is still wet. If still wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until dough is pale gold. You should not have to bake for more than 30 minutes. Remove foil and weights (rice). Continue to bake until the shell is golden, about 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
- Note: This makes enough dough for one 9-1/2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve 2-inch miniature tartlets, or one 13-3/4-by-4-1/4-inch rectangular tart.
- In the top pan of a double boiler (or bowl), combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt and whisk together quickly for a minute. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk for another minute. Set top pan (or bowl) over barely simmering water (be sure the bottom of the pan or bowl is not touching the water) in the bottom pan and cook, constantly stirring, until mixture has thickened, roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking until each piece has completely melted before adding another.
- Remove pan from the heat. Pour the curd through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and press curd through using a silicone spatula. Cover the curd with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Makes 2-1/2 cups.
- Once tart shell has cooled completely, fill with lemon curd.
- Serve as is or dust with powdered sugar. You can also top with fresh berries, meringue cookies, and/or edible flower blossoms.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: The tarts are best the same day they are assembled. They can be refrigerated for 4 to 6 hours; remove them from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.