Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lemon Custard Tart

Are you a lemon lover? This lemon custard tart might be right up your alley. It's got plenty of lemon flavor all right, but it's not as sharp (or as difficult to make) as a recipe made with lemon curd. The custard tempers the tartness of the lemon. It uses milk in the recipe, not cream, so if you eliminated the whipped cream topping (I know, it's a silly suggestion, but you could decorate with berries on top instead), you might even call it nutritious. I used Lactaid since that's what I had, but you could use whole, part-skim, or fully skim milk.
The recipe for the lemon custard is from Everyday Pie, but the crust is from Preppy Kitchen. They were meant for each other.
I served it to my Italian chit chat group recently, and they all loved it. 
I hope you do too.

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printable recipe here


(recipe adapted from

This made more than would fit in my 9" tart pan. Next time I would use aa 10-10 1/2" tart pan and make 1 1/2 times the crust recipe. For a pie pan, it would be fine as written below.

1 tart/pie crust 

5 eggs, divided

¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt 

⅓ cup (70 grams) lemon juice

1 Tablespoon Limoncello (optional if you don't have it)

2 cups (260 grams) milk

1 teaspoon lemon zest


(recipe from

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (150g)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar (50 gr)

2 tbsp. cream (10 ml)

1 egg yolk

  • ¼ tsp salt
1 Cup whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
zest of one lemon


Whisk the egg yolk and cream together in a small bowl and set aside.
Measure the flour into a large bowl then add the salt, and sugar. Whisk together then add the cubed butter. Work the butter in with a pastry cutter or your clean hands.
Once you have a crumbly mixture with roughly pea-sized pieces of butter throughout you can drizzle in the yolk cream mixture and mix together with a fork or knife. Transfer The dough onto a piece of plastic, press and fold together, then shape into a disk, wrap and chill for about an hour.
Roll the dough into a circle then transfer to a 9 or 10 inch tart pan (one with a removable base is preferable). Press into the pan then dock the bottom and trim the edge. Freeze for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375F then blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes (I use a piece of aluminum foil into which I put some dry beans and rice. I have used the same ones for more than 20 years).
Bake until a light golden color, remove from the oven and then reduce the oven temperature to 325F. 
Whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Add in the remaining 4 eggs, the leftover egg yolk, and the lemon juice, and whisk together. 
Heat the milk in a medium pot over medium heat until small bubbles form along the edges, about 120ºF.
Next, temper the egg mixture: Slowly pour in 1 cup of the warmed milk to the eggs, while gently whisking. Then, pour the whole egg mixture slowly back into the pot of milk while gently whisking. Continue to cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture has just barely thickened and reached 170-180ºF. To double-check the custard has formed, take a wooden spoon and coat it with the milk. Draw a horizontal line on the back of the spoon with your finger. If the line “holds” then your custard is set. If the line collapses right away, the custard needs another minute or so. However do not bring the mixture to a boil, this will overcook the custard.
Strain the mixture to catch any bits of cooked eggs. Add in the limoncello and the zest and then slowly pour the filling into the baked crust.
Place the tart onto your oven’s middle rack and bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until the custard has puffed up and set nearly throughout, but still slightly wobbly in the middle. 
Remove the tart from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.
Once the tart has come to room temperature, move the pie to the refrigerator to finish setting up, at least 4 hours.
Whip the cream and confectioner's sugar, then decorate with a piping bag, or just use a spoon to place dollops on the tart. Use a lemon zester to add more decoration over the whipped cream. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Sungold Tomato Pasta

This has been an exceptionally prolific summer for our tomato crop, including these sweet Sungolds, that never seem to quit. Before cleaning up the garden for the season, I harvested the remaining ripe Sungolds and was looking for a way to use them, other than eating out of hand.
I got some ideas from readers on my Instagram page, but in the end settled on a pasta dish that was inspired by the website Wishbone Kitchen. You'll need to saute the onions and garlic slowly, so they become golden brown.
Then add the tomatoes, a couple of basil stems (yes, save the leaves for later) plus some seasonings.
Smash the tomatoes and let everything simmer for 20 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender, then strain through a sieve to remove the skins (unless you don't mind them, but I wanted a smooth puree.)
I added the butter and tasted at this point, and since the tomatoes weren't as sweet as they had been earlier in the summer,  I squirted in a tablespoon of honey.
Mix with your choice of pasta and parmesan cheese and garnish with basil leaves.

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Sungold Tomato Pasta
3 cups Sungold tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced onion
2 cloves garlic
dash of red pepper flakes
2 stalks of basil (save leaves for decoration)
1 tablespoon honey, optional
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pasta water, if needed
1/2 lb. pasta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

In a saucepan, add the olive oil and the sliced onions. 
Sautè for about 1/2 hour on low heat until they turn golden. 
Add the garlic and sautè for another 10 minutes. 
Then add the tomatoes and seasonings, and using a potato masher, smash the tomatoes when they soften. Cook for about 20 minutes, then remove to a blender and whir until smooth. 
The skins are not likely to be blended, so if you want a totally smooth sauce, press the mixture through a sieve.
Remove the sieve and add the butter to the sauce. 
Add the honey, optional
Cook the pasta, retaining some of the pasta water. 
Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan, swirling to coat the pasta and adding some of the pasta water if the mixture needs to be thinned.
Add the parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly 
Garnish with basil leaves before serving.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Plum Cobbler

While many of you are enjoying summer's bounty of peaches, watermelon and cantaloupe, don't forget about end-of-summer plums. They are so delicious eaten out of hand, cooked down with a little sugar and lemon to enjoy as a topping to yogurt or ice cream, or used in a cobbler -- an easy-to-make dessert that everyone loves. Top it with some ice cream while it's still warm from the oven for an extra special treat.
You can use any kind of plums for these -- from the easy-to-find Santa Rosas to the Italian plum variety. Cut them into pieces -- quarters if they're large plums, or in thirds if they're small.

This recipe makes a cobbler that fits in a 9" pie plate, but the second time I made it, I divided it between two 6 1/2" shallow casseroles -- one to give to my 98-year-old neighbor celebrating his birthday, and one to keep for myself.
After you've mixed the plums with sugar, cinnamon and flour, place them in the container (or two if you're making two smaller ones as I did).
Then make the topping and spoon some of it on top. Place the containers into a parchment or aluminum foil-lined pan, in order to catch any drippings. Otherwise, the plum mixture may bubble over and you'll end up with burnt bits on the floor of your oven.

If you're making two smaller ones, they'll need about 5 to 10 minutes less in the oven than one larger pan.
This is an even larger pan than the original recipe calls for and I made 1 1/2 times the recipe to serve a group of about six people. We had plenty left over, and I think I could have gotten by with the original quantities. If you have leftover more than two or three days, the biscuit-like topping will start to soften.
If it's just for the two of you, you could cut the recipe in half and bake it in a smaller pan. This small casserole was really enough to serve four people.
Especially when topped with vanilla ice cream. And come on -- why wouldn't you?

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Plum Cobbler
recipe adapted from Vitalinka blog

4 cups plums (regular or Italian prune plums
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For The Topping:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
2/3 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut plums in quarters (if large) or thirds, and remove the stone.
In a large bowl, combine the pitted plums, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Set aside.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, oats, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Add the cold, cubed butter, using your hands or a pastry blender to mix with the flour mixture until it's crumbly.
Add the milk and stir just till moistened.
If making just one cobbler, add the plum and sugar mixture to the bottom of a deep 9-inch pie plate or a 2 quart baking dish.
I made two, using two 5-inch circular oven safe casseroles.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes if using the smaller casseroles, or 40-45 minutes if using the larger container, or until golden on top.