I saw gooseberries at the farmer’s market. (Actually my wife pointed them out.) Neither of us had ever eaten gooseberry anything, so of course it was a challenge not to be passed up. They’re quite tart; almost as tart as rhubarb. They’re quite similar to rhubarb in flavor as well. Because of the acidity, I knew these would need to be cooked into something. I love curds, and these had enough acidity to make a curd without adding lemon juice. (The acidity in a curd helps it set up correctly.) A gooseberry curd tart sounds like a winner to me.
I just needed a tart dough. I don’t have one that I really love, none that I’m excited about making. Truth be told, it’s because I’ve never quite been able to get the hang of the whole ‘mix the cold butter and flour together’ part of making tart dough. I know what my problem is: I hate pastry cutters and my hands are too warm to mix it by hand without melting the butter. So I was intrigued when I ran across a recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog for a tart dough that starts with melted butter. It immediately made my list of recipes to try.
But it sat there a while. I really wanted it to be good, but I wasn’t convinced a tart dough starting with melted butter could be any good. I’d like to say that I just got up the courage and made it anyway. Actually, a friend made a tart with this crust, so I got to try it out first. It’s definitely different than a standard flaky crust. This tart crust is more crispy and crumbly than flaky and it’s buttery with a great nuttiness from the browned butter.
When I started, I was sure the curd would be the star and the tart dough would be good, sure, but nothing to get excited about. But now I’m not quite sure which I’m more excited about. The curd turned out beautifully (and makes me want to try a rhubarb curd next spring…I think it’s too late for this year.) But the tart crust…I never thought a tart crust this easy could be this good. This is hands down my new go-to tart crust recipe.
Adapted from David Lebovitz
I made a batch and a half of the original recipe because I have a massive 11 inch tart pan. The original size (at the link) would be best for an 8 or 9 inch tart.
5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1.5 tablespoon vegetable oil
4.5 tablespoons water
1.5 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 slightly-rounded cups flour
Preheat oven to 415 F. Toss everything but the flour into an oven-proof bowl and bake for 15-20 minutes. The butter should be just starting to brown when you remove it.
Dump in the flour and stir it together. The texture will be somewhat like playdough. Let the dough sit just long enough that you can comfortably handle it, then press it into the tart pan. (Save a small piece of dough about the size of a raspberry.)
Bake the tart shell 15 min. As soon as it comes out of the oven, look for cracks. (There will probably be at least a few.) Use the piece of dough you saved to patch the cracks. Tear of tiny pieces, roll them into little tubes and gently press them into the cracks. Be sure to do this as soon as the dough comes out of the oven; the hot pan and dough will cook the tiny pieces of dough used to fill the cracks.
Let the tart shell cool completely before filling it.
10 oz green gooseberries, stems and tails removed
1 cup sugar
pinch salt (about 1/8 tsp)
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into smallish chunks
Puree gooseberries, sugar and salt in food processor or blender. Add eggs and whir again until smooth. Pass puree through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
Pour puree into a metal bowl and cook over a double boiler, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, one chunk at a time.
Pour the curd directly into the tart shell or tightly cover and store in the fridge. (Curd can be made a day or two in advance.)
Makes about 3 cups.