mike kostyo

I know food.

I'm Back! Here's a Lemon Tart.

Did you miss me? You did.

How do you like the new design? Pretty swank. Black and white and food all over. I'll probably tweak it some more over the next few weeks, so don't freak out.

It's been a while. When was the last time I posted? February? I know! I had to take a little break to finish up my last semester in the gastronomy program. I'm done now! I have my Master's! It's crazy. They'll give them to anyone these days, I guess. Ba-dum-bum. Last week was commencement, where this awesome thing happened.

I also went to Africa in March. I'll write about that in a bit. Put some pictures up. I drank some banana beer, saw some giraffes, you know. I have certificates in cheese and wine now. Oh, cheese. If only every course could be cheese. The ridiculously amazing Ihsan Gurdal, of the ridiculously amazing Formaggio Kitchen, taught the class. It was insane. We went up to Vermont to visit some cheese farms. We ate twelve blue cheeses in one day and my tongue hurt when it was over, but in a good way. We ate some tangerine jam from Anna Tasca Lanza that will make you cry.

Did you know (amount of time) goes by so fast? You probably haven't heard that before, but it's true.

So, what's on tap for this summer? Job hunting! If you know of anyone who is looking for someone with a gastronomy degree, let me know! June is pretty busy. I finally got a reservation for one of the campsites on the Boston Harbor Islands, so I'm hoping to do some cooking on the beach! Maybe I'll catch a little something. Probably not. Then, it's off to the Fancy Foods Show. Because I'm fancy. All things you can look forward to reading about. You seem very excited.

What a bad post. This is a boring life post. Sorry. The only thing worse is if I started talking about my baby or something, which luckily I don't have. Did you read this article? This part:

“I said: ‘Michael, remember the brainstorming we did yesterday? All you have to do is take your thoughts from that and turn them into sentences, and you’re done!’ He’s still screaming bloody murder, so I say, ‘Michael, I thought we brainstormed so we could avoid all this drama today.’ He stopped dead, in the middle of the screaming, turned to me and said in this flat, adult voice, ‘Well, you didn’t think that through very clearly then, did you?’ ”


Anyways, let's get right back to business. This lemon tart is from a book we received in the Culinary Arts class last summer. Oh I miss that class. I keep saying, if there was a level two I would do it in a heartbeat. Being in the kitchen every night, with a great group of people. Anyways, we received Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax as one of the billion books for that class. It's a new classic for a reason - these are the quintessential recipes for homey, comforting desserts. If they asked me to write a blurb for the back of the book I'd be ready.

This is not a lemon cream tart - in this one, the filling is cooked in the oven and comes out denser and more substantial. It's great. I like my lemon things really tart, so I upped the lemon levels in this recipe, as is my wont. If you want to make it exactly like Richard makes it, simply use the juice from two lemons instead of three and the zest of three lemons instead of four. If you are kind of a scaredy cat and can't handle more lemon. No judgment.

Anyways, it's good to be back. Now I have a whole summer for making food, so expect all new recipes. Yayyyy.

Lemon Tart

Adapted from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax  |  Makes One 9- or 10-inch Tart


In a food processor, add the 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 cup cold butter to the bowl. Pulse until just crumbly - you don't won't to overmix. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each addition, until the dough just starts to clump together. (You can add more ice water if it's absolutely necessary).

Press the dough together into a flat, round disc, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.


+  1 1/2 cups (8.5 ounces) all purpose flour

+ 2 tablespoons sugar

+ 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

+ 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

+ 3 tablespoons ice water 



Prepare a double boiler. In the top bowl of the double boiler, whisk the lemon juice, 6 eggs and 1 cup of sugar together until combined. Add the 10 tablespoons of butter and whisk constantly over the simmering water until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 8-10 minutes. You want to keep scraping the bottom and moving the curd so the eggs don't curdle. When the mixture is ready, immediately remove it from the heat and pass it through a very fine strainer into a bowl - don't press too hard at the end because you don't want to force any of the lumps you worked to remove back into the curd.

Whisk in the lemon zest from the 4 lemons. Set aside to cool. If you aren't going to use it immediately, lay plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate.


Liberally butter a tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled pastry dough to a large circle a few inches larger than your tart pan. The crust should be very thin. 

Gently roll your dough over your rolling pin and then unroll it back over the tart pan. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan and trim any excess, leaving a bit of a border as this dough will shrink a bit. Chill the tart shell in the refrigerator, 10-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line the dough with buttered foil and place into the pan butter-side down. Fill with pie weights or dried beans to weight it down. Set the tart pan onto a heavy baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven until the edges are just set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the foil (being careful not to tear the dough) and prick the dough with a fork. Place back into the oven and bake until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and cool, leaving the oven on.

When the crust is cool, pour the prepared custard into the shell, but don't overflow. Bake for about 30 minutes until the filling is not jiggly and a light golden color. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Before serving, strain the preserves and gently brush the entire surface of the tart (you can warm the preserves if they are too stiff). Place the lemon slice in the center and brush again.

Remove and serve.


+ juice of 3 large lemons

+ 6 large eggs

+ 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

+ 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

+ grated zest of 4 lemons

+ 3 tablespoons apricot or other light preseves (I used grapefruit sea salt jelly, which you probably have already)

+ 1 lemon slice, cut paper thin, for garnish