Accentuate the positive

Do you know what happened two days ago? It rained. A lot. And do you know what that means? Too warm to snow. It also means some serious flooding, but let’s focus on the positive here. It’s March and it rained, just like it’s supposed to. Though I previously stated an opinion to the contrary, I am psyched for spring. My favorite day of the whole year is not my anniversary, birthday, or even Christmas. It is that first day in very early spring, when the sun is shining and the air is crisp but whispering warmth, when all you need is a light jacket. The birds are back, chirping brightly as though snow had never grazed this rocky land. There’s a hum in there that feels like possibility, like a new beginning. I run around the house and open every window, every curtain. I dust, vacuum, and bake bake bake. It is the first day of Not Winter, and it is the very definition of wonderful.
Citrus-based desserts remind me of summer, though the fruits are actually in peak season during the winter. A big bowl of fresh lemons, gin and tonics with a generous squeeze of fresh lime, key lime pie, fresh squeezed orange juice, lemon meringue pie- summer, right? These things invoke images of sunshine, warm breezes through the open window, children laughing outside, flip flops, and sandy towels. But through my window I see five feet of snow, three inches of solid ice on my driveway, and a temperature gauge hovering at 12 degrees. It’s almost here, though, that day when the winter funk slips effortlessly off my shoulders. I can feel it.
Lemon Lime Tart with Shortbread Crust
adapted from joyofbaking.com
This tart is just that: tart. It is not too sweet, and has a zing that hovers on the tongue for mere moments before slipping away and leaving behind a nice bright flavor of sweet citrus and shortbread. The filling is not at all droopy, and holds its own very well against the crumbly crust. My husband said he felt very sophisticated eating this, and I think that sums it up perfectly.
Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Lemon Filling
5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Topping
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
For Crust
Grease an 8 – 9 inch tart or spring form pan with a removable bottom.
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the dough begins to form clumps. Firmly press the dough onto the bottom and about 3/4 – 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour, or place in the freezer for fifteen minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the crust for about 10-13 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
For Filling
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
In a food processor or electric mixer, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and process until fully combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended and smooth. Pour filling into the pre-baked crust and bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes or until filling is set.
Remove and place on a wire rack to cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled, about an hour.
Topping
Beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Then either use a piping bag to create a design over the whole surface, or just scoop a dollop of the whipped cream onto individual slices.
Keep refrigerated, serves 6-8.

 

This post was shared over at Sweets for Saturday!
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