Whenever I tell people I love to cook, I get one of two general reactions. Either I get an enthusiastic, "You can come cook for me any time!" or a wistful, "I wish I could do that." My response to the latter is always, "You can!" Maybe not right now, but you absolutely can cook. It just takes time, practice, and a willingness to mess up sometimes.
You see, when I started this blog just over four years ago, I can promise you I wouldn't have been able to make the dessert I'm about to show you. I wouldn't have had the confidence, the patience for all these steps, or the touch to work with a very finicky butter cookie crust. But now I do. And I'll be honest--this isn't the most difficult or complex recipe I've ever made. The curd is the same as M's favorite lemon bars; I've made it so many times I pretty much know the recipe by heart. The cheesecake layer was probably the easiest part of all. But it was the butter cookie crust that took some extra work.
It came together fine. I wrapped it up and put it in the fridge to chill. But when I went to roll it out, this simple butter crust turned into the diva of my kitchen--beautiful, but fragile, flaky, and difficult to work with. She wouldn't roll out straight from the fridge. This didn't really surprise me all that much, though; plenty of doughs need to sit for a short bit to let the chill come off. But when the dough came to a temperature where it would roll out, it very quickly became too soft and split apart. But here's why you should stick it out--this diva is worth it. She isn't just beautiful on the outside. She delivers. She brings just the right amount of sweetness to an otherwise sweet-tart dessert. So be patient. And enjoy every single bite.
Double Lemon Tart
from Williams-Sonoma, amounts cut for one tart
For the crust:
1 c. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
3/4 c. cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 recipe lemon curd
1/3 c. sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Prepare the lemon curd. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, up to 3 days in advance.
2. To make the crust, sift together both flours and salt into a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the flour mixture in three additions and beat just until a moist dough forms. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
3. When dough is chilled, remove from refrigerator. Put the dough disk between 2 large sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a 12-in. round about 1/4-in. thick. (Be patient with the diva!) Gently roll the round on to your rolling pin or fold the dough in half and transfer to a 10-in. tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the round and ease into the pan, patting firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the edges to form a 1/2-in. overhang. Fold the overhang back over itself and press down into the sides of the pan. Freeze at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove lemon curd from refrigerator and allow to come almost to room temperature while working. Line crust with sprayed or buttered foil and fill with pie weights (or dried beans used only for this purpose). Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue to bake until the crust is set and lightly golden, about 5 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
5. While oven temp is reducing and crust is cooling slightly, prepare lemon cheesecake filling by combining the egg and sugar in a food processor and processing until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream cheese, pulse to break up and then process until smooth, about 15 seconds more. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour and vanilla and process just until smooth, about 20 seconds. Pour the filling into the partially baked, slightly cooled crust.
6. Place tart pan (still on a baking sheet) in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and gently spread lemon curd on top, taking care not to disturb the cheesecake layer. Return to the oven and bake 15 minutes more. Remove and transfer the pan to a wire rack to let cool about 1 hour. Then place in refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours more before serving.
7. To serve, cut into wedges and top with berries, whipped cream, and/or confectioners' sugar, as desired. Serves 8-10.