When you do retire to that island paradise, there are certain kitchen gadgets you will want to bring along. Today we include on that list, a tart pan. With a removable bottom no less. Is this actually essential? Well if you want guaranteed perfect results every time, if you like your quiches and tarts to have a crust that looks like you spent years in culinary school, if you have little to no talent in the kitchen but want to put out tarts that look like they belong on the cover of a now defunct gourmet magazine then yes, this little wonder is as essential as it gets.
Certainly regular pie pans have their place; I would no more use a quiche or tart pan to make a robust apple pie than I would use a cookie sheet to make a cake. But if you have ever had a quiche or tart presented with a perfectly crimped crust, not a crumb out of place, and wondered how they did that, the tart pan with a removable bottom is your answer. No pinching of pastry to from a perfect seal, this pan is already fluted beautifully. The removable bottom means easy cutting and serving of the tart as you don’t have to dig around the sides and mangle the first piece; once the side of the pan is slid down you can slice away with impunity.
Though the bottom is referred to as removable, it is the side or “top” of the pan that you remove first. Just place the pan on an inverted bowl and gently and evenly slide the side down. Voila! The pan’s bottom is still there, holding your chef d-oeuvre, and you can slide your tart right off this onto a fancy serving plate, or just keep it on altogether, which I recommend. The less you fuss with it the better. Just look how easy this is.
Okay now that you have this great pan what are you going to make? Look how beautiful it is today! Bright and brisk, the sun a lemony yellow! Okay there it is, let’s make a bright, lemony-sun-shiny tart, perfect for spring. This is a lovely and elegant dessert, everybody loves it. Made with a nutty shortbread crust, you can decorate it however you like; fresh raspberries and mint, or a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, or maybe a little fresh whipped cream or a dusting of icing sugar. Or just serve it plain. It doesn’t matter, it won’t last long.
Fresh Lemon tart with Almond Crust
Preheat oven to 350 F
For the filling:
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, about one and a half lemons
1 tablespoon orange zest
¼ cup melted butter
Beat together eggs and sugar until creamy. Zest 2 tablespoons from the lemon(s). Add lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest, the orange zest, and butter. Continue beating until combined. Set aside.
For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
½ cup almonds, ground
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup cold butter
Put half a cup of roasted almonds in food processor and pulse until ground fine (but do not over process or you will make almond butter). Put the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and lemon zest in food processor. Cut up cold butter into small pieces and add. Pulse all ingredients until totally combined. The pastry will have a malleable texture that is easy to work with.Place an un-greased 9 -1/2 inch tart pan on a baking sheet for easy handling. Turn out pastry into pan and press evenly all over the bottom and sides of pan. Pour filling into shell. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes or until centre of tart is set but still has a little wobble to it. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove tart from pan as instructed above.