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A Truly Tart Tart

March 18, 1993|BEV BENNETT | Bennett is food editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and a cookbook author.

A quick check of the supermarket offerings--lemon cake mix, lemon-lime soft drinks, lemon hard candies--proves lemon's popularity. But that sweet artificial-lemon flavor can only go so far. A great lemon dessert should be sharp, though sweet enough that lips don't pucker. It should be refreshing and fruity.

That said, it has been my goal to create a lemon tart that suits my taste. It has to be a contrast of rich egg custard and sour citrus flavor. I mix lime juice with the lemon because I found I could safely cut back on the sugar without making the dessert too tart.

This tart is my winter alternative to a refreshing glass of lemonade.

LEMON-LIME TART 4 to 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 eggs 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter, melted Tart Crust

Combine lemon and lime juices in small bowl. Strain out pulp, if desired. Beat eggs until light in medium bowl. Add sugar and continue beating while adding melted butter and citrus juices. Gently pour into Tart Crust.

Bake at 400 degrees until tart is golden brown on top but still quivers in center, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature 1 hour. Tart will firm up. Serve at room temperature or chill 1 hour. Makes 4 servings.

Tart Crust 1/2 cup flour 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 egg yolk 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Pulse together flour, powdered sugar, salt and baking powder in bowl of food processor. With processor running, add butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg yolk and pulse 2 to 4 times. With machine running, add water until dough comes together.

Remove dough from processor and gather into ball. Flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Roll out on lightly floured board to 10-inch circle. Ease into 7-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Remove excess dough. Chill 1 hour.

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