Whipped Lemon Curd Tart with Ginger Crumb Crust

I made this for Thanksgiving when my friend Kristen took pity on us and invited us to join her family.  I had given birth just two weeks earlier to my oldest daughter.  But I HAD to have this tart.  I found it in a complimentary copy of Chocolatier magazine I received when I accompanied Kristen to the NYC Chocolate Show.  Happy memories. :)

Thanksgiving is no longer complete without this tart.

To make this gluten-free, use this recipe and add ground or chopped crystallized ginger.
Also–brush the inside of the pie crust with a beaten egg white and bake for a few minutes at 350 degrees to keep the crust from becoming soggy.

Whipped Lemon Curd Tart With Ginger Crumb Crust (from Chocolatier magazine)8 servings

Ingredients:

For Ginger crumb crust:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 rounded tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger, about ½ ounce (Australian is best)
9 whole graham cracker sheets, about 4 ¾ ounces
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For Whipped Lemon Curd Filling:

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
8 large egg yolks
¾ cup strained fresh lemon juice
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup chilled heavy cream
6 ounces Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For Garnish:

Crystallized ginger, cut into eight 1/3” chunks
Mint sprigs
Lemon zest strips

Instructions:

For crust:
1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter 10 ½” fluted tart pan with removable bottom.

2. Place sugar and crystallized ginger in bowl of food processor fitted with metal chopping blade. Process until ginger is finely minced and sugar is infused with ginger. Break up graham crackers and add to sugar mixture along with powdered ginger and salt. Pulse until crackers are finely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and mix with fork until mixture is evenly moistened.

3. Pour crust mixture into prepared tart pan and press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake crust for 9 minutes, rotating pan half way through baking. Cool completely on wire rack. (Crust will crisp while cooling.)

For filling:
4. Fill a large saucepan one third way with water and bring water to simmer.

5. Reserve 1/3 cup sugar. Place remaining sugar and egg yolks in heatproof mixing bowl and whisk until blended. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without the bottom touching water.) Whisk in lemon juice, zest and salt until blended. Add butter. Place bowl over pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved, butter is melted and misture is thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to keep water barely simmering.

6. Remove bowl from saucepan and strain lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container. (Use a rubber spatula to push curd through sieve.) Press sheet of plastic wrap onto surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for several hours, until thoroughly chilled.

7. Pour cream into medium-sized, chilled, mixing bowl. Using hand-held mixer, whip cream on medium speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until cream forms firm peaks. Refrigerate until needed.

8. In bowl of electric mixer using paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and remaining 1/3 cup sugar on medium high speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl. On low speed, beat in vanilla extract. Remove bowl from mixer stand. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in whipped cream. Fold 1 ½ cups whipped cream cheese mixture into cold lemon curd. Fill pastry bag fitted with medium star tip with remaining whipped cream cheese mixture and set aside.

To assemble:
9. Fill cooled tart shell with whipped lemon curd, smoothing top with small offset metal spatula. Unmold filled shell from tart pan and transfer to flat serving platter. Pipe 8 rosettes (1 per serving) of whipped cream cheese mixture around border of tart. Place piece of crystallized ginger in center of each rosette. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. (Tart can be made 2 days in advance.)

10. To serve, cut tart into 8 slices and garnish each serving, if desired with lemon zest strips and mint leaves.

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