blackberry, lime, and honeydew tart
This was supposed to be the sixth and final post in a series of frozen desserts, but the pictures of mint ice cream I took last year are hurting my eyeballs. Fresh mint ice cream is awesome. There’s a recipe here.
You know what else is hurting my eyeballs and crushing my soul? Trying to learn Blender 3D modeling on a deadline. It’s a little like being trapped in a horrible nightmare. Like this recurring one: I’m about to graduate high school and move on with my life, but I login to check my grades and realize that I’ve failed math because I skipped every single class, and I’m doomed to repeat my senior year. It feels so real.
Anyone familiar with Blender? Have any words of wisdom? Or simply want to tell me I’m in over my head? I can appreciate brutal honesty, too.
I have snacks to get me through the night, at least. Coffee, for starters. A couscous and quinoa salad that I hope to post soon. And a tart.
The inspiration for blackberries with shavings of honeydew came from the Book of Tarts by Maury Rubin. The crust is a favorite shortbread recipe that simply asks you to melt some butter, add some vanilla, sugar, salt, and flour, stir, and press it into a tart pan. Lemon cream from Pierre Herme became lime cream, with a little less butter. The original recipe calls for 21(!) tablespoons of butter. I went along with it the first time, because M. Herme is a genius, but I was a little annoyed that the cream solidified into a luscious, buttery brick in the refrigerator. This time ’round I tried the recipe with 10 tablespoons of butter and the cream firmed up to a nice pudding-like consistency, which means that you’ll like it if you don’t mind the curd creeping in slow-motion off the crust once it’s sliced and on your plate. I don’t, but I’m sure there’s a perfect middle-ground in there somewhere. 16 tablespoons? It’s a lot of butter, whichever way you decide to go.
Shortbread Crust (adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and still warm
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 a teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Grab a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom.
Combine melted butter with sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and mix with a spoon until just combined. Press dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Let rest for an hour, up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 325. Bake until deep, golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
Lime Curd (adapted from Pierre Herme)
1 cup sugar
zest of 3 limes, finely grated
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 4-5 large limes)
10 tablespoons to 21 tablespoons butter (your call), room temperature and cut into small pieces
An instant-read thermometer is helpful for this recipe. Get out a blender or food processor and put a strainer over it.
Place the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that will fit into a pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest between your fingers. Whisk in eggs, followed by lime juice.
Fit bowl into pan of simmering water, making sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl, and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk once the mixture is warm to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Cook the cream until it reaches 180 degrees. The mixture will start out foamy, but as the cream gets hotter it will start to thicken and whisk will leave tracks. Don’t stop whisking, and keep checking the temperature. Getting to 180 can take up to 10 minutes, depending on the heat you’re using. I used medium on a gas stove and it came together quickly.
Strain mixture into your blender/food processor, discarding the zest. Let the cream sit at room temperature until it has cooled to 140, about 10 minutes.
With the machine running on high, add a couple of pieces of butter at a time, scraping down sides as needed. Beat the cream for 3 minutes to get a light, airy texture. Pour the cream into an airtight container and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When you’re ready to put the tart together, stir the lime cream and spoon it into the shortbread crust. Arrange a pint (or more!) of blackberries over the top. Cut a honeydew in half and cut the skin off, deep enough to get to the sweet, fleshy part. Using a vegetable peeler, slice inch-wide ribbons from it and arrange over the tart.
*note: once my 10-tablespoons-of-butter-in-the-lime-curd version of this tart chilled overnight, it set up quite nicely, no more of that creeping-sneakily-off the-crust shenanigans, though I can’t vouch for how well it would hold up at room temperature for any real amount of time. The leftovers have been in the fridge for a few days and the crust is still crisp and the honeydew has held up, if that’s helpful to anyone!