“No flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour.” – Pirkei Avot 3:21
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted parve margarine, chilled
2-5 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl or in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cut the magarine quickly into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, two knives, or short pulses (if using a processor) until the mixture resemble coarse meal. Using a pastry blender or two forks for the hand method or the processor’s feed tube, add 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time until the dough begins to hold together. Form the dough into a ball by hand, cut it in half, and then flatten it into two equal disks. Wrap each one in waxed paper and chill for 1 hour.
To make each tart shell, use a rolling pin to roll one disk into a circle about ¼-inch thick on a lightly floured board. Carefully transfer the rolled dough to an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press gently into the sides of the pan and trim any excess dough hanging over the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork in several places. Chill the shells for 30 minutes before baking.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Line the chilled shells with foil or parchment and fill with dried beans, raw rice, or pie weights. Bake the shells for 12 minutes or until set, then carefully remove the weights and foil or parchment. Return the shells to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of foil.
Remove the shells from the oven and cool completely before filling.
16 egg yolks, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
1⅓ cups fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks unsalted parve margarine, chilled and sliced
4 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
In a medium saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and salt. Heat on medium low for 10 minutes, whisking constantly until the custard is thick. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the magarine in one piece at a time. Stir until smooth.
Pour the mixture through a sieve and stir in the grated lemon zest. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming and chill. Spread the cooled custard into the shells tarts.
Both the pastry shells and the lemon custard can be made in advance. The unbaked shells will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Be sure to press the plastic against the surface of the dough. The custard can be refrigerated for up to a week.
This recipe, adapted from Sarah Kate Gillingham-Ryan’s The Greyston Bakery Cookbook (Rodale), makes versatile and tasty tart shells filled with tangy lemon custard. For best results, add just enough ice water to the dough. Don’t overwork it. Use fresh lemon juice. Never turn your back on the custard while it’s cooking!
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