Sweet Crust (will fit a 9” pie plate or a 9” free form tart ring with some scraps remaining) (from Pleasures of Cooking)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
a pinch of kosher salt
4 oz. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a small bowl or ramekin, whisk together the egg. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and process just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the egg and pulse just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out.
Roll out the chilled dough onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper; fit the dough into the pie plate or tart ring, trim/crimp the edges and refrigerate until firm. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line the pie plate or tart ring with parchment paper and beans; blind bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, remove the beans and parchment and bake an additional 10 minutes, checking to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. Set aside to cool completely.
Tart Lemon Curd (adapted from Taste by Williams-Sonoma)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup fresh lemon juice, strained
2 tablespoons lemon zest
6 oz. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice and zest, and set the double boiler over boiling water. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula until thick enough to coat the back of the spatula. This will take a good 10-15 minutes, maybe a bit more. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time and whisk until smooth. Strain the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer placed over a bowl. Pour the lemon curd into the fully baked and cooled pie or tart shell. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Place plastic wrap on top of the pie/tart and refrigerate until chilled, 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, remove the plastic wrap and gently dab the top of the pie/tart with a paper towel to remove moisture. Sprinkle with caramelized sugar (see details below) and use a kitchen torch to brûlée the top. Once you have torched the top, the crispy sugar is short-lived when placed back in the refrigerator. In honor of National Pie Day, I encourage you to perform a random act of pie-ness, and share with a friend.
How to Brûlée-
Grease a sheet of aluminum foil and place it on a baking pan. Set aside. In a heavy bottomed high-sided saucepan, melt one cup of granulated sugar over low heat until it caramelizes. (Don’t turn your back on the sugar or walk away; that is when the sugar will burn.) The color should be close to the color of maple syrup, amber. Outfit your hand in an oven mitt and carefully pour the sugar on top of the greased aluminum foil. Let the sugar harden completely. When it is cool, break the sugar into pieces. Place the pieces of caramelized sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulverize the sugar and transfer to a small bowl. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the pulverized sugar evenly over the pie and have a go at it with your handheld torch.