My favorite dessert is any kind of berry tart. The best filling I've ever had in a fruit tart is meyer lemon curd. The subtle tartness of the meyer lemon melds perfectly with the buttery pastry dough and sweet berries.
The main dessert served at my dinner party the other night was a Strawberry Tart with Meyer Lemon Curd. I used a recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book for the tart crust and the lemon curd recipe from my big fat Gourmet cookbook. Since I was in a hurry I made the glaze in a rush and it came out a bit lumpy (3/4 cup of strawberry jam mixed with 1 T. lemon juice and then boiled to a glaze consistency).
Despite the rush, the result was delicious. I could have worked harder on presentation but I think spending time with my guests is more important and they arrived earlier than I had expected so I had to finish the tart quickly. The best part about this dessert is that the ingredients can be made a day or two ahead of time and then assembled on the event day.
Tart dough: Mix 1 cup flour with 1/4 tsp. salt. Rub in 8 T. chilled butter. Mix in 1 T. water (or more) until the dough is soft but not sticky. Form into a small disc, wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before using. Pat into tart pan and prick with fork. Bake in 425 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until golden. Before filling, brush tart with glaze (see above).
Meyer Lemon Curd:
1 T. plus 2 tsp. finely grated meyer lemon zest
1 cup fresh meyer lemon juice
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Whisk together first 4 ingredients in heavy saucepan. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, for 10 minutes, or until curd thickens and starts to show a few bubbles.
Immediately strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Cool to room temperature, stir occasionally, then store in an airtight container. Cool in the fridge until cold. The curd will keep stored for 1 week in the fridge.
Assemble Tart: Scoop about half of the curd into the prepared tart crust (already glazed) and let settle. You don't want to over-fill the tart (like I did) because it will make a BIG mess. Then place berries (I used halved strawberries) on top in concentric circles. If you'd like you can then glaze the top of the tart with the remaining glaze. Serves about 6 people.
Note: I have to apologize for the presentation quality of this tart. I overfilled the tart crust and quickly placed the strawberries on top, not even worrying about how it looked. Now I'm a bit embarassed and wish I had a better picture. If only you could have tasted it!
The 2 slices leftover didn't last for very long. I ate them immediately when I woke up. You can see how messy this tart was from the cake stand. Ahh. C'est La Vie.