A few weeks ago we had company for dinner and, in my usual way, I spent most of the day making dessert and about 20 minutes making dinner. To be honest, I can’t even remember what we had for dinner, now that I think of it. But the dessert, a lemon chiffon tart, left an impression. I just love a sweet, pretty ending to a meal, don’t you? This tart is the perfect dessert with dinner on a warm evening; the filling is light and lemony (a lemon curd lightened by whipped cream) and the topping features fresh, ripe blueberries in all their summertime glory. No glaze, no sugar. Just the sweetest berries the season has to offer.
And the best part? You could use any type of berry, really … blackberries, raspberries and strawberries would all be equally delicious. Choose whatever’s fresh and ripe at the market.
Make the tart dough:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt until well-blended. Add the egg and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed just until fully incorporated.
On a lightly floured smooth surface, divide the dough into two equal parts and shape each into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours to let the dough rest, or overnight. (Alternatively, you can make the dough well in advance and freeze for up to three weeks. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.)
Prepare the tart shell:
Roll one of the chilled disks to 1/8 inch thick, or until it is about 11.5 inches in diameter, lifting and turning the dough a quarter turn after every few rolls to prevent sticking. (Reserve the second disk for a future use.) Trim any uneven edges and carefully lift and transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, patching any holes or tears with scraps of dough. Trim the edges again until they are level with the top of the pan and smooth between your forefinger and thumb. Place the prepared pastry shell in the freezer for 15 minutes until it is firm.
Preheat the oven to 325. Remove the tart shell from the freezer and, using a pastry brush, brush the pastry with an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water). Prick the bottom of the shell with the tines of a fork and place in the preheated oven. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until the shell is golden brown. Let cool completely.
Make the lemon cream:
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cool but not cold
1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
1 pint fresh blueberries
Bring two inches of water to simmer in a medium saucepan. Whisk together the lemon juice, whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will fit snugly atop the saucepan over (but not touching) the simmering water. Whisk the egg mixture continuously over the simmering water until thickened and registers 180F on a thermometer (about 10-12 minutes). (Do not stop whisking, as the eggs will curdle.)
Allow to cool slightly (140F) and whisk in the butter in four batches, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Whisk the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into the prepared lemon cream, then gently fold the lemon cream mixture into the whipped cream.
Quickly pour the cream mixture into the prepared tart shells and smooth with an offset spatula. Decorate the top with fresh blueberries or other whole berries, washed and dried completely.