2000s Recipes + Menus

Lemon Crostata

  • Active time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to finish:5 1/2 hr
April 2008
A zingy lemon tart gains an Italian accent with a crisp, almond-perfumed crust.

For pastry dough

  • 3/4 cup whole almonds with skins (1/4 lb), toasted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For filling and assembly

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Equipment:

    an 8-inch springform pan; a pastry/pizza wheel

Make dough:

  • Pulse almonds with 1/4 cup flour in a food processor until finely ground, being careful not to grind to a paste.
  • Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Chill 1 tablespoon beaten egg for egg wash and beat remaining egg into butter mixture. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. At low speed, mix in almond mixture, zest, salt, and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour until a dough just forms.
  • Halve dough and form each half into a 5- to 6-inch disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Make filling:

  • Beat yolks with 3/4 cup sugar using cleaned beaters until very thick and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan and stir in zest, juice, butter, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and mixture begins to bubble, about 6 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with parchment paper, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Bake crostata:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Generously butter springform pan.
  • Roll out 1 piece of dough (keep other piece chilled) between 2 sheets of parchment into a 12-inch round (dough will be very tender). Remove top sheet of parchment and invert dough into springform pan. (Dough will tear easily; patch it with your fingers.) Press dough over bottom and 1 inch up side of pan, trimming excess.
  • Chill shell and roll out remaining dough between sheets of parchment into a 12-inch round. Remove top sheet of parchment, then cut dough into 10 (1/3-inch-wide) strips with pastry wheel and slide, still on parchment, onto a baking sheet. Chill until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Bake shell until bottom is pale golden and edge is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool shell in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes.
  • Spread filling in shell and arrange 5 strips 1 inch apart on filling. Arrange remaining 5 strips 1 inch apart diagonally across first strips to form a lattice with diamond-shaped spaces. Trim edges of all strips flush with edge of shell. Brush lattice top with egg wash and sprinkle crostata with remaining tablespoon sugar.
  • Bake crostata until pastry is golden and filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours (juices will thicken).
Cooks’ notes:
  • Dough can be chilled up to 2 days.
  • Crostata is best the day it is made but can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered (once cool). Serve at room temperature.
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