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Help with Lemon Dessert & Edible Gift

I am planning my (Orthodox) Easter dessert offering for our hosts.

I'm deciding between a lemon curd tart filling: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/le...

or a whole lemon tart: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0...

and this tart shell recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/1...

My questions are:

1) Which kind of tart looks more scrumptious?

2) Could I add fresh thyme to the tart dough, to add another level of flavor?

3) Any other fantastic lemon dessert ideas that would blow these two out of the water? (I'm not interested in lemon cake, however

)

4) I also wanted to bring an edible gift for the house, like strawberry jam. Any other ideas?

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  1. I love a tangy, creamy lemon curd tart. I recommend the recipe from Alice Medrich's book Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, which you'll find here: http://butteredup.blogspot.com/2012/0...

    The crust is wonderfully crisp and tender, and truly easy - made with melted butter, pressed in the tin, and baked from room temperature with no weights. You could easily add an herb to it (I love rosemary with lemon desserts). The lemon curd has a perfect sweet-tart balance, to my taste. I did bake the fillrd tart for few more minutes than indicated to be sure the curd set up as it cooled.

    You can see a photo of the one I made using that recipe here: http://www.chow.com/photos/887040

    3 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Thanks for the recipe! In the link it says it takes a lot of patience to press the dough in the tin- how was it for you? Do you prefer this method to more traditional ones?

      Your picture is gorgeous!

      1. re: eviemichael

        I didn't find getting the dough in the tin difficult. I think the key is to not dump it all in in one lump and then try to get even coverage. I separated out around a third of it and used that for the sides, and then broke the rest into clumps over the bottom and pressed it all in evenly. I find it simpler than rolling out a crust and transferring it, and there's no real worry of overworking it. But really, the proof of the pudding etc., and this crust has a great texture and flavor.

    2. I make a lemon tart with a layer of cream cheese filling (similar to cheesecake) below the lemon curd that I really like. It plays well against the tartness of the curd. I think raspberries, especially since it's the season make a pretty presentation.

      7 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Sounds lovely! Would you be willing to share the recipe?

        I make a pie that has the same concept -- cheesecake-type filling below with a lemon curd glaze on top. However, I like your layer idea.

        1. re: Indy 67

          It's this link, only I spread lemon curd on top after the cream cheese layer is baked.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4493...

          I like this because it's a very thin layer of cream cheese filling. I also like it w/ the apples (not both apples and lemon) or pears. It's a great base for a number of desserts. Great w/ chocolate ganache, too.

          1. re: chowser

            I've never seen a recipe quite like this, thanks for sharing!

            1. re: chowser

              My recipe calls for cream cheese combined sour cream for the "cheesecake" layer. Here's my version without the portion of the recipe for the lemon curd topping:

              Devonshire Lemon Pie

              favorite piecrust recipe for one crust (See note)
              2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese
              3/4 cup sugar
              2 eggs
              1 cup (8 oz. carton) sour cream
              1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
              1/4 teaspoon vanilla

              Lemon Curd Glaze (recipe omitted)

              Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

              Prepare recipe for favorite pie crust and fit into a 9-inch pie plate.

              Soften cream cheese in a large bowl; beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then add sour cream, lemon rind and juice, and vanilla. Blend well. Pour into prepared crust.

              Bake 25 minutes, or until filling is set and pastry is lightly golden. Cool completely in pie plate on a wire rack.

              While pie cools, make Lemon Curd Glaze. When Lemon Curd is cool, spread over the top of pie. Chill until serving time.

              Note: I like a graham cracker crust more than a conventional pie crust.

              1. re: Indy 67

                That sounds good, too. The sour cream sounds like a nice addition.

              2. re: chowser

                Chowser, I plan on using this recipe that you provided but, in at least one of the mini tarts, I'm going to try substituting rhubarb filling in place of the lemon curd.

                1. re: Sam D.

                  That sounds really good. If you do it and it's good, can you post your rhubarb filling? Thanks!

          2. Have the hosts requested / accepted an offer from you to bring dessert? If not, be sure to speak with them about their / your plans. Especially with something like a lemon cheesecake tart that will require refrigeration, an additional item may not be practical. (I know my own refrigerator is at max-capacity when hosting a holiday meal.)

            I detest thyme or rosemary with lemon desserts. For me they don't add a layer of flavor but instead spoil what otherwise was a perfectly good treat.

            Do your hosts know you well enough to trust your canning / jam-making skills? We accepted a jar as a gift from my husband's co-worker but, frankly, were so uneasy about whether food-safety standards were properly maintained that we tossed it. A freezer/refrigerator jam might be a good option. Or simply bring the more traditional chocolates, wine or flowers.

            2 Replies
            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              i agree about adding herbs to lemon desserts. am not a fan. i do like incorporating almond meal into the tart crust though.

              you can also simply bring jarred lemon curd as a gift, since it doesn't require canning to be food-safe.

              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                Yes, my Aunt who is hosting requested a lemon dessert.
                I love thyme with lemon, but you're right to point out that others may not like it...

              2. I made Thomas Keller's Lemon Sabayon Tart for Easter last year and it was stellar. The crust has a pine nut base. Recipe is online here: http://www.petitmiamx.com.au/2012/05/...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Aravisea

                  This looks very good. I'm allergic to pine nuts, so if I make this recipe maybe I'll substitute with almond meal....

                  1. re: eviemichael

                    I'm sure any crust you made would be delicious. The key is the filling - now I want to make one!

                2. for the gift, are you wanting something that you make? if not, what about some umami paste? like taste no 5 or vanilla beans. I find the vanilla beans are often overpriced for many people to stock. But nice to have on hand. If you want to make something. You could infuse and oil or vinegar with herbs and garlic.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    Yes, I wanted to make something homemade. Flavored oil is a nice idea, but I live in Greece and everyone is so attached to their particular olive oil.

                    1. re: eviemichael

                      In that case, I made a great bacon and onion jam this year for myself, think I might make it for gifts in the future. Not sure how well this would work in Greece, but if you are interested in the recipe let me know.

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        I'd like the recipe for myself!
                        I'll probably end up doing biscotti for the others.

                        1. re: eviemichael

                          I don't have exact recipe, if you need more clarification let me know.

                          cook diced bacon until rendered but not crispy
                          remove to plate, remove some of the oil
                          sweat salted thinly sliced onions until cooked through over med low heat.
                          add bacon back in and deglaze pan with bourbon or dark rum
                          add some maple syrup or other sweetener and water or beef/chick stock. I like to add Thyme and pepper
                          continue to cook on low - med low until it is all caramelized and liquid gone, at least one hour. Add more liquid if needed.
                          store in fridge (can be kept quite a while)
                          I like it slightly warmed, served on top of cracker and brie with a little fresh thyme. Great on burgers too.

                          1. re: cleopatra999

                            That sounds like heaven to me, thank you so much.