My husband doesn’t often indulge in sweets, but he has always had a special fondness for one certain Ethel M chocolate. Lemon Satin Cremes. A rich, dark chocolate on the outside, the filling is an unbelievably yummy lemon creme. The combination of dark chocolate and sweet, zingy lemon is sublime. He used to bring those chocolates home when he traveled out west on business. Las Vegas, baby! On a really good trip, he would sign a big contract, win at the poker table and bring home Ethel M chocolates. Kind of like a Triple Crown for a road warrior. I’m not sure which of his trio of wins I liked the best.
When a dear friend recently gifted me with a box of fresh-picked organic Meyer lemons from her backyard tree, I almost cried with delight. The queen of lemons, the Meyer is a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. Slightly milder than a regular lemon and extremely juicy, Meyer lemons are perfect for cooking in both sweet and savory dishes. Inspired by these culinary treasures, I whipped up a big batch of rich, creamy lemon curd, and the first lick of the spoon took me back to those Ethel M chocolates with their lemon satin creme centers. I thought it would be fun to try and re-create that special combination of dark chocolate and lemon creme in a tart to surprise my husband for New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to make the lemon curd, and the chocolate graham cracker crust is easier than making a sandwich.
From our cottage to yours, best wishes for a rich, sweet and slightly sassy New Year. May 2012 be a Triple Crown Winner for all!
Ethel’s Lemon Satin Creme Chocolate Tart
For the Meyer lemon curd:
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
One stick butter butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely shredded Meyer lemon zest (zest the lemons first, then juice them)
In a double-boiler over just simmering water at medium heat, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until well blended. Cook, whisking constantly (to prevent the eggs from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (160 degrees F on a candy thermometer). This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted and is fully blended. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool to room temperature. Lick the spoon, and then cover the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate. As it cools, the lemon curd will continue to thicken a bit.
For the Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust:
12 chocolate graham crackers
One stick of butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely break the crackers and place in the food processor. Process with metal blade until finely pulverized. Add melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Press the crumb mixture into a 9 inch tart or pie pan, spreading it evenly over the bottom and sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until firm. Remove piecrust from the refrigerator, and pour lemon curd into the crust, spreading evenly. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate the tart until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh whipped cream and lemon zest if desired.