Meyer Lemon Tart – I’m in Love!

I hereby confess to an open fondness for fruit tarts. Free from the tyranny of top crust making and lower in calories by that very lack of an upper crust. They can be as fancy as you wish or humble and rustic when limited time is an issue. Full of ripe berries, nuts and caramel, of custard, of apples, pears or plums. Pretty much anything that can be pied can be tarted. In my house there is a running teasing argument as to pie or tart. I am of the tart persuasion and he is of the pie love affair. So he calls my tarts pies with great delight and I snicker at his silly ways. Either way it is a win win.  Tarts can be useful too when you have limited amounts of filling material; a 9 inch tart doesn’t take that much to fill it to an acceptable level. My old-fashioned 10 inch aluminum pie tins take more than twice that amount to be considered appropriately full. Don’t get me wrong; I adore pie in so many versions it could be considered an obsession but this post is all about the tart. 

This is a Meyer lemon masterpiece of a tart. I bought a bag of 6 Meyer lemons for less then $3 at Lidls and they were lovely looking. For your edification I will advise that a Meyer lemon is like a lemon but also like an orange; in fact, it is a species created from both, sort of. Actually, to be technical it is half mandarin orange (those sort of flat small tangerines) and half citron which is a genetic parent of the common lemon. Meyer lemons were introduced into the US in 1908 and they are sweeter than lemons, slightly deeper yellow and rounder than a lemon.  The juice is a tad darker and the skin is tasty enough to be extremely sought after by many chefs. Okay, enough on the ancestry of my beloved Meyer lemons. Just know that they are no common citrus and that  you can buy them in many grocery stores locally. Please do not attempt this tart with any sort of regular lemon; it must be made with Meyer lemons as the normal lemon’s white pith is way too bitter and even the juice isn’t sweet enough for this treat.

This tart uses every part of the lemon except the seeds. I make a lemon jam that is similar in this respect. So when I made this tart it did remind me of my lemon jam only more roasty yet zingy somehow and the crust’s flaky texture really amplified its charms. I made mine in a 9.5 ceramic tart pan. You could make it in a 9 inch one and make a hand pie or two out of the spare filling.  I saw the recipe on someone’s fb post and made a few changes and threw one together this past weekend since I already had the lemons and was intrigued by how it uses the whole fruit. Definitely a keeper of a tart. You could make it with a regular pie crust and regular flour in filling if you are not gf.  Enjoy!

unbaked filled tart; see how pale it is!

 Meyer Lemon Tart

Ingredients:

One GF tart shell; prebaked about 10 minutes at 375 degrees:

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Mix dry crust ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and lemon juice.  Mix briefly until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 10-15 minutes. Roll out and line a 9.5 tart shell. Prick surface with a form in many places to keep it from puffing up. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Let cool at least 10 min before filling.

Filling:

5 Meyer lemons

1 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp. divided

1 medium to large egg and 1 egg yolk

A pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp flour (I used my King Arthur Basic GF Mix)

8 Tbsp. butter melted and cooled for 5-10 minutes

Directions: cut up the lemons into halves, quarters then eighths, remove seeds. I got over 5 cups of chunks. Put all the filling ingredients into a large food mixer and pulse until it is a coarsely chopped yet cohesive filling. Just don’t completely puree the lemon chunks; you want a bit of size difference not a puree.  Pour into the tart shell and sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of sugar. Then bake at 325 for 20 on the bottom shelf of your oven. Turn heat up to 350 and bake another 30 minutes. I think I could have left it in for a few more; the filling should darken a bit and crust will be nicely browned. The filling should be jiggly but will set as it stands. Chill for several hours and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or by itself. Enjoy!

Blueberry Tart 2.2

I have made this tart many times. This time I used a simple, sweet, press in, gf pie crust. It adds a bit of sweetness and is super easy; no rolling out the pie dough. In the past I always had leftover filling that I baked in a separate pan. This recipe revision endeavored to end that practice; I reduced the volume to make just enough to fill the tart pan, success!

Notes; you can leave out the lemon ingredients if you don’t want that flavor. I use King Arthur’s basic gf flour blend when I make a homemade crust, the one that is just flours, no xanthan in it. I used blueberries but I am sure you could make this with raspberries or a mixture of the two.

The ricotta adds a delicate texture and crumb. These were definitely off season blueberries but tasty none the less. I used a little of the rind and juice of a Meyer lemon which has a delicate flavor compared to regular lemons. Do let the ricotta cheese and eggs warm up to room temp before using them; always good advice with gf baking.

Ricotta Blueberry Tart

Cookie crust:

1 cup brown rice blend

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

5 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 10 pieces

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.  Add the butter, mix until fine like sand.  Add extract. Blend briefly.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle in the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Press lightly in with your hands. DO not press too hard or it becomes way too firm.

Or, roll out that premade pie crust and fit into your pan; trim off extra crust. Fill.

Filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese, whole milk is best but any will do.

2 lg eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon extract

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon rind grated

1 Tbsp. plus 1 Tsp. tapioca starch or corn starch

Pinch sea salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350 degrees/ Mix ricotta with eggs in the mixer bowl you just made the crust in and then add the rest of ingredients except the blueberries.  Carefully pour into the tart crust. Top with the berries.

Bake tart 40-45 min at 350 degrees. It should be fairly firm in the center.  Let cool before slicing.  You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar if desired. I am always so eager to try it I totally forget to do this! Enjoy.

GF Flour blend (if you want to make it yourself)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

Alsatian Apple Tart; Deliciously Creamy

 

I bought a great gf cookbook a few  years ago.. I have been too busy to do much fancy baking plus my wrist has made it impossible to roll out pie crust; this is my first rolled out crust since last June. Annalise G. Roberts wrote my favorite gf cookbook “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”.  In “ The Heirloom Collection” she re-creates many classic recipes we all love but in a gluten free version. Eighteen cakes, thirteen muffins, scones and quick breads, sixteen cookies, twenty breads as well as eleven tarts. And some other misc. baked goods. SO many yummy looking things to bake. All gluten free. And knowing Annalise Roberts, all yummy!  Of all I have made from it this is possibly my favorite recipe. I know you will enjoy it too.

She starts with a section on how to take a wheat flour based recipe and make it gluten free; very interesting: I have a few cherished recipes I would love to convert.  She is such a reliable and careful baker; all her recipes turn out exactly as promised. With so many great looking recipes and if you have any of her other cookbooks you will definitely want this one.

Anyway back to my tart: I was looking for an apple recipe that only needed a few apples, cause that’s all I had and this tart caught my eye. I had everything I needed and I remember how delightful it was last time. My brother ate two slices and his wife ate my crust happily; apparently she never does that.  Aiden loved it as well.  Definitely a hit.

It was a very easy recipe; make the tart shell and while it pre-bakes, peel and slice the apples and mix up the custard. Arranging the apples took me 3-4 minutes and another 30 seconds to pour over the custard and carefully place it in my oven for a transformational baking.alsatian apple tart 002

This tart has a lovely texture; the apple slices are soft but held their shape and the custard is silky and subtle. The long baking makes the crust very crisp. No ice cream needed; this is perfect just by itself.

alsatian apple tart 007

After making this tart the first time I noticed that this is the baked good featured on the back cover of the book; a place of honor for a fantastic apple treat. So freaking good; you must try it even if you use a wheat crust. Alsace-Lorraine is an area in Germany close to France; over the years it has been passed back and forth a few times. One of my ancestors is from this area so I was thrilled to find a recipe my great great grandmother might have baked!alsatian apple tart 004

Alsatian Apple Tart
6 large slices or 8 skinny ones

Crust:
1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)
2 tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbps. granulated sugar
½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks
1 lg egg
2 tsp fresh orange, lemon juice, even lime juice works

Spray a nine – ten inch tart pan that has a 1 ½ inch side with cooking spray, set aside. I use a ceramic ten inch pan but if you have one of those tricky deep tart pans with a removable bottom that would work perfectly.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of a stand electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal. Add egg and juice. Mix until it comes together into big chunks. Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.

Roll out the flattened ball into a pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! I like to sprinkle a bit of my flour mix on the crust as it gets thinner so it doesn’t stick to the pie bag/wax paper. Peel off one side of paper and place in the tart pan, be sure to center it. Remove other slice of wax paper. Crimp edges all around. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes until light brown.  Let cool.

Filling:

3-4 medium to large sized apples, yellow delicious work particularly well as they don’t squish down too much. I have used Fuji in the past as it also doesn’t get too mushy.

Peel apples, quarter, cut out core, slice into 1/2 inch thick slices (8 for a medium apple)

Mix in a medium mixing bowl with:

6 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs; stir well
Add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, ¼ tsp. cinnamon.

Arrange the apple slices in the warm/hot tart shell, squash them close together. Pour the custard filling over the apples.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 50-55 minutes until the custard is set and the crust is light brown

Cool the pie at least 1 hour before serving. You can sprinkle the slices with confectioner’s sugar if you like to gild the lily; not really necessary in my mind.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur GF Flour mix)
2 c brown rice flour, finely ground
2/3 c potato starch (Not potato flour)
1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is from Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook: Gluten-Free Baking Classics – The Heirloom Collection.

Originally published in November 2015, minor changes to text.

Almond Frangipane Tart

I still am not rolling out pie dough so I did my favorite shortbread cookie crust made in my stand mixer in a few minutes with no real work. This simple press in crumb recipe by Annalise Roberts is sweet and has a perfect texture. And so easy… There were still apples from our fall picking expedition so that seemed to be what I could plan a family dessert around.

I had a bag of whole almonds that needed to be used up.  So, I went with the classic frangipane filling under thin slices of Granny Smith apples. I used the almonds to make my own almond paste (the recipe is a blog post by me last year) but you can buy some if you prefer. I pre-baked the crust as I feared the almond filling might make the raw crust

The tart was a rousing success; the crust tasted delicious; the almond filling fused the skinny apple slices into the crust as a cohesive whole that was delightfully almondish!

Notes: I used Granny Smith as they hold their shape under oven heat; some baking apples can mush down too much. Don’t change that or you might end up with a saggy top.

apple tart with frangipane filling only

apple frang tart with applesapple frang tart bakedApple Frangipane Tart with Cookie Crust

 

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 cup gf flour (King Arthur basic gf blend)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ tsp. cinnamon

5  Tbsp. cold butter

FILLING:

8 oz almond paste

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 butter, softened

2 eggs

3 Tbsp.  KA basic gf blend

3 cups of peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (3 large  apples)

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS: Crust: use a stand mixer; put dry ingredients in bowl, add cut up butter and mix on medium until crumbly. Spray 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray and press in crust, heat oven to 375 degrees.  My pan has a removable bottom but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a plain pan.  Bake crust 6-7 minutes; let cool while you make filling.

Filling: Mix filling in medium bowl; put almond paste (break up if chunky: can grate it if hard) and sugar. Mix a bit, add butter; mix well, add eggs one at a time, beat well between eggs and 3 minutes after second egg; add flour; chill. Gently spoon into tart pan on cooled crust, fan out apple slices in circles or any pattern you like, brush with melted butter and sprinkle top with coarse sugar.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake on lowest shelf in oven, 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool at least 30-60 minutes before serving. Best eaten within 2 days; I thought it was actually even better the next day. Vanilla ice cream is great with apple tart! Enjoy. apple frang tart slice

Apple Tart…Veganized But Still Yummy

 

My assignment was to make a vegan (and gluten free) dessert to take to a small gathering out of town. I have to confess I am not particularly fond of some vegan desserts I have tried: the mouth feel is sometimes odd and the texture can be heavy especially icings. But I felt those things could be avoided. There were still plenty of apples from our picking expedition in October so that seemed like a great place to plan from. I am not yet rolling out pie dough plus it has an egg in it so that’s a no…so I did a shortbread cookie crust made in my stand mixer in a few minutes with no real work. I really didn’t miss the rolled out crust; this simple press in crumb recipe by Annalise Roberts is the very best crust for sweetness and texture. And great for gimpy folks like me!

The tart was a complete success; the crust tasted delicious and not weird. All gone in moments; silence as everyone inhaled their slice. Shortly thereafter two other non-vegan guests sidled up to me and quietly thanked me for a great dessert; they were probably glad there was no weird icing involved, LOL! This could be an excellent holiday dessert if you need one that is vegan.  It travels great; I have a pie saver – big diameter, low cylinder tupperware meant just for pies and tarts.

Notes: I used a mixture of baking apples; some golden delicious and Jonagold. Any baking apples will work (Not red delicious as they are best eaten raw) …no honeycrisp either; best raw.

vegan apple tart unbaked

vegan apple tart baked

I forgot to take a picture of my slice before devouring it: sorry; it was great looking, everything held together perfectly.

Apple Tart with Vegan Cookie Crust

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 cup gf flour (King Arthur basic gf blend)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5  Tbsp. cold Earth Balance (sold in sticks just like butter)

FILLING:

3 -4 cups of peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples (4 good sized apples)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. Tapioca flour or KA basic gf blend

1/3 c sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS: Crust: use a stand mixer; put dry ingredients in bowl, add cut up Earth Balance and mix on medium until crumbly. Spray 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray and press in crust, heat oven to 375 degrees.  My pan has a removable bottom but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a plain pan.

Filling: mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, Mix filling in medium bowl; dump in apples, sprinkle with lemon juice and then sprinkle over all with all of the dry mix. Gently place into tart pan on crust and sprinkle top with coarse sugar. I took the time to arrange mine in a pretty pattern but you can just pile it in if you are in a rush.

Bake on lowest shelf in oven, 35-40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool at least 30-60 minutes before serving. Best eaten within 24 hours. Vanilla ice cream is great with apple tart! Enjoy.

Note: You can use the convection setting; takes about 25-30 minutes to bake.