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Lemon Curd Tart Pastry

PASTRY

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
Extra flour (for sprinkling)

Slice the butter lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into eighths. Separate the pieces of butter and transfer them to a small bowl. Refrigerate the bowl.

In another small bowl, combine the egg yolk, water and salt. Stir with a fork. Refrigerate.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place the flour. Add the butter and pulse the mixture just until it resembles coarse meal. Add the yolk mixture through the feed tube. Pulse just until large clumps form. Don't let the dough form one large ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and quickly knead it to form a ball. Shape it into a smooth, round cake and wrap in foil. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

LEMON CURD

3/4 cup lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
3 eggs plus 3 extra yolks
1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped (for garnish)

In the top of a double boiler over simmering, but not boiling, water, combine the lemon juice, butter, sugar, and lemon rind. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the butter and sugar melt.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and yolks just to mix them. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, add the egg mixture to the lemon mixture. Cook, still stirring constantly, over simmering water, until the mixture thickens. Remove it from the heat and place the top of the double boiler in a bowl of ice water. Continue stirring until the mixture is lukewarm, but not cold. (If it's warm, you'll get a cleaner slice of pie later.)

To make the tart: Have on hand a 10-inch tart pan with a removable base. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

On a floured counter, roll the dough to a 13-inch round, turning the pastry and dusting the counter with flour as you work. Lift it onto the rolling pin and ease it into the tart pan. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, folding the extra dough back onto itself in the pan.

Line the pastry with parchment paper or foil (dull side up). Weight it with pie weights or dried beans. Transfer to the lower third of the oven and bake the crust for 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

Remove the tart pan from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees. Lift out the parchment paper or foil with the weights and set the weights aside for another use. Return the pastry to the oven for 20 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown.

Let the pastry cool completely. Pour the warm lemon curd into the shell, spread it evenly, and set the tart on a small bowl so the sides of the tart pan fall off. Slide the tart off the bottom onto a large, flat serving plate.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. Cut into wedges and garnish with whipped cream. Serve at once.

SERVES 8

By Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven

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