Monday, December 17, 2012

Lemon Cream Cheese Tart with a Gingersnap Crust

Lemon Cream Cheese Tart 

Taking care of a 3 year old and a 3 month old has sapped any energy I had for extraneous activities. My cooking has become predictable.  As my sister wisely said, right now my life is more about survival than perfection.  While I often feel like I'm being challenged to my core, I am lucky enough to be showered with smiles every morning from both boys.  That's enough to keep me going.

The exceedingly gray skies of late call for a little culinary levity. The pretty yellow color and zing of lemon and ginger are a pick-me-up and just what I needed.  


It's funny how a food treat can feel like a visit from an old friend.  A simple boost that helps me continue on my daily march.


I wish you all the coziest of times as 2012 comes to a close.  May you be showered with gifts of smiles, good food and warm, safe homes. 

Ruth's Lemon Cream Cheese Tart
Adapted from my Grandmother's recipe
Plan ahead by taking the eggs and cream cheese out of the fridge a few hours before you want to make this.

For the tart crust:
8 ounces ginger cookies (I used store bought from Whole Foods Market)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Finely process the cookies in a food processor.  Melt the butter, then pour it into the food processor and pulse to combine.  Place a  9 inch tart shell with removable bottom on a baking sheet.  Press the crushed cookies into the shell.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes and allow to cool while you proceed with the filling.

For the filling:
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
fresh berries for garnish (optional)

Use a handheld electric beater to beat the eggs until light in a double boiler (bain marie); then beat in sugar gradually.  Stir in lemon zest and juice. Stir constantly over the heat with a wooden spoon for about 7-10 minutes until the eggs begin to thicken to a custardy consistency.  Add the cream cheese (must be room temperature) and use the electric beater again to blend thoroughly.  Several more minutes over the heat should do the trick.  Spoon this into your prepared tart shell.  Cool on the counter.  You could serve this warm, or if you want to prepare it ahead of time, simply chill it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  
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