Celebrating Our Sea Salt Caramel Collection: Lemon Tart with Black Pepper Crust

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Our new Sea Salt Caramel Collection contains four unique pieces inspired by the Pacific Northwest and the bright flavors of Jacobsen Salt Co. salt, which is hand-harvested right off the Oregon Coast. You can read more about this collection and Jacobsen Salt Co. here. To celebrate the debut of these unique flavors, today we're sharing a recipe for a special lemon tart with a black pepper crust, inspired by our Citrus Caramel with Jacobsen Lemon Salt, one of four in the collection.

Lemons are in their natural season and at their peak in the wintertime. Their tart flavor and cheerful color is a welcome spark during these dark months. In keeping with the spirit of the Sea Salt Caramel Collection, we've adapted an innovative recipe from Chef Massimo Bottura of the three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. He takes a delicious crispy pastry shell and fills it with sweet softened ice cream and warm, tart lemon zabaglione, then serves it upside down and slightly smashed, dubbing it the “Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart.” In an interview with Bon Appetit Magazine, Bottura explained the concept of the “dropped” tart as poking fun at the fussiness of a traditional lemon tart. However, we like to think that perhaps someone accidentally dropped a tart during a hectic night at the restaurant, and thus the idea was born. After all, much of the work of entertaining is messing up but doing it gracefully, isn't it? This tart is a perfect example. And what better guidance to carry into the New Year? Take some pressure off yourself and have a little more fun.

So go ahead, make this tart and smash it in front of your guests. Then eat it up in all its beautiful, messy glory!

Lemon Tart with Black Pepper Crust
Adapted from Massimo Bottura for Bon Appetit, October 2013

For the tart crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp Jacobsen lemon salt, crushed
  • 1/2-1 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 egg yolks, chilled

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the butter and work into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender until it resembled coarse meal. Add the egg yolks and stir until well blended, then gently knead with your hands until thedough comes together. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 10 minutes before proceeding.

To bake the crust, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle roughly 1/5-inch thick and 14 inches in diameter. Fold the circle into quarters and gently move it into an 11 or 12-inch tart and pan unfold so that it covers the pan. Use your fingertips to push the dough into the bottom and side of the pan, then trim any excess with a sharp knife.  

Line the crust with foil and fill with pie weights or beans, and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden throughout (peek under teh foil to ensure that the bottom has cooked).  Cool completely.  (Can be made a day ahead and kept well wrapped at room temperature).

For the lemon zabaglione and ice cream filling:

  • 1 quart vanilla, lemon, or chocolate chip ice cream, purchased or homemade

  • 1 1/2 oz. Theo 70% Dark Chocolate, melted

  • 5 egg yolks, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons limoncello*

  • Jacobsen lemon salt, for serving

Because the zabaglione is best served shortly after making, first prepare the rest of the tart:

  • Use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate in the base of the cooled pastry shell. Chill briefly to set.
  • Then, soften the ice cream enough so that it can be easily scooped with a spoon and gently spread into the tart shell.  It need not be flat—ridges and waves look more appealing! Place the filled tart shell in the freezer while you make the zabaglione. Note: The tart shell can be made earlier in the day and held in the freezer until ready to serve. Allow to soften at room temperature for 5 minutes or so before topping with the zabaglione and serving.
  • To make the zabaglione, bring one inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. In a heat-safe bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thickened. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the surface of the water, and continue to whisk. Gradually added the lemon juice and limoncello. Continue to whisk until light and thickened, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160ºF. Remove from the heat to stop the cooking. Pour the zabaglione over the top of the tart, top with a sprinkling of lemon salt, and serve immediately, upside down and smashed if you like.

*If you do not have limoncello, you can substitute brandy or even Prosecco, but you will want to added the zest of one lemon to make up for the loss in lemon flavor

Serves 8.

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