A Pie Thing (Sort Of)

IMG_2112-45Confession: I threw a tantrum yesterday. A foot-stomping, fuming, then whining, good ol’ fashioned tantrum. I was not hungry, nor was I tired. I was simply HOT. There is no cute word to describe hot-angry like the newly coined ‘hangry’, but I experience this feeling from July to mid-August annually. I am more than grateful for any air conditioning I encounter and am halfway through the apology texts needing to be sent for the previous day’s episode.

You know what sounds like a prime situation for another hot-angry tantrum? Baking. A. Pie. And you’ll never guess what I’d been dreading since June. Pioneer (aka Pie and Beer) Day. I love spending this day with my favorite Utah pals, but I detest the thought of heating up an oven, keeping it piping hot, and laboring for hours for even the most decadent of pies.

So this year, I’m making a pie–but not really pie–thing. It’ll feel like a pie, smell like a pie, kids might even be fooled into calling it a pie. But alas, it’s a tart in pie’s clothing. A simple tart dough baked for less 40 minutes gets filled with a sweet, tart citrus curd and topped with fresh fruit. It’ll satisfy the want for pie without the hours of cutting fruit, mixing then chilling crusts, par-baking, then baking, then cooling (and adding more darn heat to your home). This is another ‘take the reins’ type of recipe, too. I’m using lime and berries, but you can substitute any other citrus (or any acidic fruit juice) to make your curd and top it with whatever your heart desires.

I am pleased. I am cool. I am zen. I am full of lime curd tart, and I will not throw a pie- and heat-induced tantrum this Pioneer Day.

Lime Curd Tart (cough, pie, cough)
Serves 8-10

Tart Dough

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 dashes lime bitters (vanilla extract will work just fine, too!)

Lime Curd

  • 3 large eggs, or 1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, about 5 limes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix flour, sugar, and salt with a pastry blender or two forks. Add cubed butter and mix until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Add egg and bitters and keep mixing until the dough is no longer dry and starts to clump together, adding cold water if needed. Turn dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky. Flatten ball slightly with your hands to form a thick disc. Either wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days or roll out the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 12-inch circle, then place gently into a 9-inch tart pan. Trim edges and freeze for about 30 minutes (prevents shrinkage!). Preheat oven to 375F and place rack in the center. Bake crust for 30 minutes until golden brown and dry. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the tart dough is baking, you can prepare your lime curd.

Whisk the eggs (or egg and yolks) in a small nonreactive saucepan to blend. Whisk in the lemon zest, juice, sugar, salt, and butter. Continue whisking over medium heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is thickened and beginning to simmer around the edges. Take care not to boil the mixture as it will cause the eggs to curdle. Remove from the heat and scrape into the strainer, pressing gently on the solids and scraping the bottom to release large bits. Refrigerate until chilled before using, for up to one week.

To assemble, remove tart from pan and set on a wooden board or plate. Scoop curd into the tart shell and smooth to the edges. Top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or creme fraiche.


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