About a month ago, my company hosted a “team-building” cooking class at the Whole Foods Culinary Center. I coordinated the event, so I knew full well what was on the menu. Meaning, I had already decided what I wanted to contribute to the meal: dessert (obviously). So, when cute Whole Foods chef asked who would like to make the lemon tart, advising us that it was the more “involved” of the two dessert options, my hand was the first one up.
All the ingredients were pre-measured; pre-measured but not labeled. It’s possible that other people asked for clarification, but not me. No, I in all of my self-declared baking genius, knew I could figure it out on my own. You know the Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef where the chefs are blindfolded and have to guess the ingredient just by tasting it? Yeah, I would fail that test. Apparently, I would also fail without a blindfold.
Did I wonder why the “flour” looked a little chunky? Maybe a little, but I threw it in the bowl anyway. And then, when I went to look for the powdered sugar, I realized I had made a horrible mistake. Yep – Ellen “baking blog” Reynolds put powdered sugar in the tart batter. So then, cute Whole Foods chef and I sifted my dry ingredients in an attempt to remove the major chunks of powdered sugar. Classic.
Amazingly, it still turned out, and it was GOOD! Good enough that I asked to take the recipe home with me so I could replicate it (this time without extraneous ingredients). The combination of lemon, cornmeal, and almond flour gives this tart a rustic, homey flavor. And when you get a bite with fresh berries? Heaven.
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. almond flour
1/3 cup corn flour (finely ground)
4 large eggs, yolks and whites divided
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Fresh berries for garnish
Powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8″ or 9″ spring-form pan with parchment paper, and then coat the entire pan with cooking spray. (Note: the pan size is fairly important. I tried to “make do,” and it wasn’t entirely successful.)
Combine 1/3 cup sugar and flours in a bowl.
Whip 1/3 cup sugar and egg yolks in another bowl with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Beat in zest, oil, lemon juice, and orange juice. Then, fold in your dry ingredients.
This is where it’s going to get annoying, if like me, you don’t have an extra mixing bowl… Beat egg whites and salt in a third bowl with an electric mixer until frothy. Beat in remaining 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of egg white mixture into batter. Fold in remaining egg white mixture in two parts, mixing well.
Pour batter into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Invert pan, remove parchment, and turn cake right side up onto a plate.
Garnish with fresh berries and sifted powdered sugar.
This tart would be perfect for a Labor Day picnic or BBQ – it’s one last hurrah of red, white and blue!
Recipe courtesy of Whole Foods Lamar Culinary Center.