When Brett and I started dating over a year ago, I became obsessed with training him to respect dessert. Something he and my mom have in common: for them, dessert is take-or-leave, never exceeding once a day, and preferably citrus. I've made permutations on lemon layer cake, lemon shortbread bars, a pretty handsome lemon-marbled cheesecake, but this tart from Gourmet's May 2008 "Cooking Vacations" is hands-down the shit. Top with raspberries, as here, or blackberries (even better), whatever's 2 for $5.

The magazine (which credits the original recipe to Rosa Jackson @ Les Petits Farcis) writes, start to finish, 4 hours. Perfect to make in the morning, anticipating dinner.

Adapted from Gourmet, May 2008.


Equipment: 9" round tart pan with removable bottom, food processor.

4 tbsps almonds with skins, toasted and cooled
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of fine sea or kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 large egg yolks
6+ tbsps fruity olive oil*

*They write, "preferably French." I use Meijer's organic mild oil. Also, the original recipe calls for half as much dough, but trusty reader reviews convinced me to make double, and the proportion is exactly right.

3 large lemons (or, a small bag of Meyer lemons and 1-2 regulars)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsps cornstarch
2 whole large eggs + 2 large yolks
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tbsps of the same olive oil as above


1. To toast the almonds: arrange in a shallow pan, bake @ 350 degrees until golden and fragrant, 5-10 mins.

2. Once almonds are cool, pulse to a fine powder in the processor. Add flour, sugar, and salt; pulse to integrate. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Notes: To cube butter, I like to slice a stick along the long side, flip and slice the same way, and then make evenly spaced perpendicular cuts. Then I put the cut-up stick (still on its paper) back in the fridge to re-chill. Also, with a crust like this, avoid overprocessing - some small butter lumps are okay in the "course meal" stage, as they'll expand and get flaky delicious.

3. Add egg yolk and oil (one tbsp at a time) and pulse until a soft, just-blended dough is formed. For similar doughs, you can pinch a bit between your fingers and see that it sticks. Spread dough evenly over the bottom and up side of the pan - this step takes me awhile, but it's worth it. Try doing the bottom first, then pressing dough up beyond the edges and carefully trimming them off with a knife or rolling pin. Chill the dough in the bottom of your fridge, uncovered, until very firm. This prevents shrinking once it's baked. While the dough's chilling, you can preheat your oven to 425, rack in the middle (so rarely does it leave the middle).

4. Bake your tart shell until golden brown all over, about 13 mins. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

5. While it's cooling (or you could do this while it's chilling/baking), grate enough zest to measure 2-3 tbsps, and squeeze enough juice to measure 3/4 cup. The curd tastes a little sweeter and slightly more complex with Meyer lemons, since they're nice and sweet. You can add a little bit of orange juice to regular lemon juice for a similar effect? I've never tried that but imagine so.

6. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, sugar, cornstarch, whole eggs, and yolks, bringing to a strong simmer, just under a boil, whisking constantly. This curd is crazy simple but can boil suddenly, cooking the eggs (unsightly egg curd!) and creating craters of blistering curd, which hurts. So whisk and watch. Let it thicken and get glossy, about 2 minutes at its highest heat.

7. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and olive oil until smooth. If you do have cooked egg bits, strain them out. To assemble, simply pour the curd into the cooled shell and chill 2-4 hours, until set.

You'd be surprised how easily this tart comes together. The product: rich crust offset by truly tangy curd, crowned with natural sweetness; I've witnessed a self-proclaimed slave to cream sauce (not you, Steven) exalt this over flourless chocolate cake.



Oh am I a sucker for cinnamon rolls. See: years of patronizing airport Cinnabons, or my first year at Lula's, before they altered (irrevocably) their recipe. This formula is everything one could hope for: fluffy, sweet but not cloying dough, ribbons of cinnamon sugar paste - and more so for one who's never worked with yeast, but fortunately owns a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2008.


1 cup whole milk
3 tbsps unsalted butter
3 and 1/2 cups unbleached ap flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 and 1/4 tsps rapid rise yeast
1 tsp salt

unsalted butter, room temperature
golden brown sugar
good cinnamon (I use Vietnamese, from my farmer's market)

cream or neufchatel cheese
powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
optionally, I like 1/2-1 tsp of Kahlua


1. Combine milk and butter in a glass measuring cup. Microwave until butter melts. Pour into bowl of stand mixer (can you do this in a regular stainless steel bowl with a hand mixer? potentially, I imagine), and add 1 cup flour (sift first), sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Note: I just measure and add the yeast dry. Some googling led me to believe that the warm milk allows for the yeast to expand as is, so dissolving into water first isn't truly necessary.

2. Beat low (setting 2-4) with paddle attachment for 3 mins, occasionally scraping the bowl. Add 2 and 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until the flour is absorbed and the dough is sticky; if the dough is super sticky, add flour by the tablespoon until it pulls from the sides of the bowl, forming a cohesive clump. However you imagine bread dough to look, this is what you're looking for.

3. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball or lump, and transfer to a large, nonstick-sprayed bowl. Gently turn the dough lump to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and a dishtowel. Now, the thrill: let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size. 2 hours on the counter, or less in a 150 degree oven, or even on a burner of a recently-off oven.

4. Toward the end of the rise, make your filling. I don't include measurements here because it's really subjective: you're adding cinnamon and sugar to softened butter to make a paste that you'll spread across the dough. Make enough for maximum ooze, once rolled and baked. I like a higher cinnamon-to-sugar ratio, but that's me.

5. Ok, dough completes its 1st rise. Punch it down, remove from bowl, transfer back to freshly floured work surface. Gently roll the dough out to a 15x11-ish inch rectangle. Spread filling over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Starting at one long side, roll the dough (carefully!) into a log, keeping the roll as tight as possible. With the seam side down, slice the log into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices - the best way to do this without damaging the integrity of (i.e. razing down) the roll, is to slip a long piece of thread until the log, and pull the two slack ends toward and past each other, so that the dough is cut as they cross. I think Buffy decapitated a vampire like this once.

6. Spray your container (I use a pyrex casserole dish) with nonstick, and set the rolls down cut side up. Cover with plastic and towel again. Note: at this point, you can refrigerate the dish(es) overnight, removing them in the a.m. for the final rise and bake. Impress brunch company. Or, if you're into consecutive steps, let the dough re-double another 45 mins. I've made these both ways (straight through & pausing overnight) and they're fucking amazing either way.

7. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375. Bake rolls until tops are golden, anywhere from 13-20 mins. My oven takes about 18 mins with no threat of the tops burning, but some reviewers of this recipe prefer to cover the rolls with foil for the last 5.

8. Make frosting. Combine ingredients to your liking, whether it's one large, refrigeratable batch or as-you-eat.

These rolls don't require frosting to be delicious, and are pretty great microwaved for about 2 days after. Not that they'll last that long.