Monday, September 15, 2008

Lemon Tart Part One: Graham Crackers

The idea for Shabbat afternoon dessert had been lingering in my head since last weekend, when I made the Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits. I had been thinking of making a deconstructed lemon meringue pie parfait: dollops of curd with a meringue cookie and a half a graham cracker sticking out from the side. I had it perfectly visualized in my head but instead decided to translate that into a tart. This is the beginning of my take of that classic. I began by making the graham crackers from scratch, using a recipe from Carole Walter's Great Cookies and then crushed them and added melted margarine to form the base for the tart. Making the graham crackers was a really fun experience, in part because they're a childhood classic made homemade, and that's always great, and in part because my almost nineteen year old sister, who also took some of these photos, helped me bake for the first time ever! That made it all the more fun. These graham crackers are so delicious! They don't taste exactly like store bought, (when does that ever happen?!) but similar and nicely crunchy and cinnamony and the little bit of honey definitely shines through and gives it that familiar taste.

Graham Crackers
From Carole Walter's Great Cookies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine, slightly firm
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp regular sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the margarine until light.

Add the sugars and beat well to combine.

Add the egg, vanilla, and honey,

and mix well to combine.

Add the dry ingredients.

Mix until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough into two portions. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm and rollable. Is that even a word?

Beginning with one piece of dough, roll out to desired thickness. That's me with my mom's ginormous rolling pin.

Nicely rolled and floured. Make sure that the dough is liberally floured to prevent sticking.

Cut the dough into an even square.

Cut into thirds, and then again crosswise to form six rectangles. Or shape them however you please.

Transfer the dough pieces to a parchment lined cookie sheet...

...and dock with a fork to get that traditional Graham Cracker look.
Bake until golden brown and delicious.
Do with the crackers as you please. Eat the whole batch, give them away, or make S'mores! I put them in a bag and crushed them with my aforementioned ginormous rolling pin to make crumbs. I added about a stick of melted margarine- just enough to make them clump together when squeezed.

Line them in your pan and bake for about ten minutes. Fill as desired. More on that coming up!

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