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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tonight's The Night

Last fall I heard that my cooking idol, Ina Garten, was coming to town on her book tour.  Well, she wasn't exactly coming to town, but she was coming to Cleveland, which is the next town over (kind of).  Ina was touching down in Cleveland, which is about 2 1/2 hours away, so really Ina was coming to a town near me.

Now, it's not just anyone that I would schlep 2 1/2 hours for.  And, I can assure you that I wouldn't go to Cleveland simply to have a book signed, even though that would be tempting.  Nope.  I am schlepping to Cleveland because Ina is doing "An Evening" followed by a Q & A session.  I have to be honest.  I'm not exactly sure what "An Evening" entails, but it's Ina.  And Ina can do no wrong.

My friend Mona and I  got tickets and are making the pilgrimage to Cleveland.  Needless to say, we are wracked with anticipation.

This morning Ted asked me if I had any questions for Ina.  Hum...  "Can I be your friend?"  Can I come to your house and check things out?"  Can I cook in your kitchen?  With you?" "Can I be you?"  Those questions are all, to use Kate's words, a little creepy and stalkerish , so maybe I'll wait and let other people ask those pressing questions.  I'll come up with a question about food.  Or entertaining.  Or something.

Needless to say, I will be reporting back to all of you tomorrow.  This is exciting stuff.  And you thought the election of a new Pope was the biggest thing happening this week.  Well, that was before you knew that Ina was coming a town near me.

Yup.  Tonight's the night.

In honor of Ina, I thought I'd repeat one of my all time favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes.  In fact, this lemon curd tart may be the first Ina recipe I ever made.  Seems appropriate, doesn't it?

Recipe:  Lemon Curd Tart
(2007, Ina Garten)


For the tart shell:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt

For the lemon curd:

4 lemons, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the tart shell:


Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 1 side of a square of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, buttered side down, on the pastry. Fill with beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the lemon curd:
Remove the zest of the lemons with a vegetable peeler or zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set the juice aside. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 175 degrees F, or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.

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