Stress Baking

Sour tart for sour times

Everything is rotten. But lemons are in season.
Stress Baking

Sour tart for sour times

Everything is rotten. But lemons are in season.

Will Donald Trump be president for four years? If Ronald Reagan — who became embroiled in a number of really bizarre, very bad international imbroglios — was the “Teflon President,” seemingly resistant to any and all logical critiques, Trump is something like the plastic president, ready to melt under heat. Already, a top official in the administration has resigned amidst controversy around relations with Russia, staffers have leaked an unprecedented amount of information to the media because working for Donald Trump is likely a nightmare, and this week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was implicated for lying under oath about meetings he had with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

On the topic of Russia, why have so many people in Trump’s camp met with Russian leaders? It seems weird, but maybe it’s not? America has done plenty to fuck with the Russians up to this point. In any case, Donald Trump’s presidency is really annoying, mainly because I can’t remember the last time anyone talked earnestly about the future. It’s as if we’re all just waiting to see what happens. I still can’t wrap my head around what was so bad to Trump’s base about Obama.

Of course, there’s the thing we can’t talk about in American politics, the rotting sore of this nation’s history that today, seems ready to infect the whole American experiment. Following the election, discussions of race’s role in Trump’s win were quickly drowned out by those decrying “identity politics,” as if everything about our nation’s politics aren’t identity politics.

All of this feels pretty gross when you think too much about it, especially after seeing a film like Get Out in a theater full of oblivious white people. ANYWAY, this week we’re making lemon tarts, a sour and sweet treat that requires quite a few steps. It’s a great distraction from whatever the hell it is that’s happening out there. We got this recipe from a 1998 New York Times piece, a time when things seemed so simple. [Ed.: Perhaps because the writer was 6.]

Meyer Lemon Tart


  • 13 1/2 ounces (3 sticks plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pan

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 8 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 tablespoon milk

  • 12 ounces (about 2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 pound (5 or 6) Meyer lemons

  • 5 large eggs


  • Using a mixer, cream 8 ounces of milk, 2 sticks of butter, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add 1 egg yolk and the milk, beating to combine.

  • Next, mix the flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and slowly add to the butter and egg mixture. Slowly stir until they are fully mixed.

  • Roll the dough into two balls, and freeze one for future use — because you can’t split an egg yolk, this yields more dough than you need, hooray! Chill the second dough ball for about an hour.

  • Liberally butter a 10-inch tart pan (make sure to use one with a removable bottom) and roll the dough onto the tart pan, pressing along edges. Place the shell in the freezer for 30 minutes.

  • While the shell is in freezer, make the lemon curd: First, grate lemons for the zest. Squeeze zested lemons to extract 1 cup of juice. In a saucepan, mix lemon juice and zest, remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 5 1/2 ounces butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted.

  • In a mixer, combine eggs and remaining 7 egg yolks until blended. Slowly add hot lemon mixture to eggs until blended. Return mixture to saucepan, and place over low heat. Whisk until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. IMPORTANT: Do not let it to boil. You’ll fuck up the whole process.

  • Remove from heat, and keep stirring to stop the cooking. Strain the lemon curd into a bowl, adjusting sugar to taste.

  • Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it right against the surface of the curd.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tart shell from freezer, and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

  • Spoon lemon curd into tart shell, and smooth the top.

  • Bake until filling has puffed around the edges, about 30 minutes.

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