As I have mentioned before, I give my friends baked goods of their choice for their birthdays. This particular birthday dessert was hummed and hawed for over a month, and at the last minute, Richard decided on a simple lemon tart. Thankfully, too, because I had a plane to catch and was having trouble finding enough hazelnuts for the originally planned pastry. I have been wanting to try a vodka-based crust, having recently heard of them over beers. Yes, my friends and I talk dough when we go out drinking.
This lemon tart can also be made into mini tarts, in muffin pans or mini tart pans. Just roll the dough out to a large rectangle and cut to size. They taste like glorified lemon bars, with a more flavorful crust and a really nice consistency. If you are feeling crafty, you can make a stencil for the powdered sugar using parchment paper.
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tbsp vodka
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350º.
In a large bowl, blend the flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, ginger, and vodka with a hand mixer. When it starts to look evenly distributed, knead it a bit with your hands until a smooth dough forms.
Roll the dough into a ball and place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll out to about 1/4" thick, it should be about 14" across. Remove the top layer of parchment paper, and place the tart pan upside down on the dough. Carefully flip it over and peel the other layer of parchment off. Lightly press the dough into the pan, then roll your rolling pin around the edges to trim excess dough. Prick the bottom generously with a fork to let air bubbles out.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Prepare the lemon filling while it cools.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the baking powder and flour, then stir the mixture into the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the crust and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.