Hudson, Ohio, cookbook author Carla Snyder is talking about her longtime zest for citrus. As a child, she said, her mother let her bust open the bag of candied citrus slices and eat them on the way home from the grocery store.
Now, with her seventh cookbook, “Sweet and Tart: 70 Irresistible Recipes With Citrus” (Chronicle, $19.95), Snyder fully embraces her lemon lust, along with the versatility of limes, grapefruits and oranges.
“I like brightness in food,” Snyder said in an interview in her home kitchen. “The easiest way to add brightness is by adding citrus.”
She’s also into medleys of flavors, as in her Lemon-Almond Cake with Basil-Honey Berries, and Cream Cheese Muffins with Spinach and Lemon. Grapefruit shows up in a custard pie, as well as chocolate-dipped citrus peel. You knew she had to include her twist on that childhood favorite.
Oranges are featured in a variety of treats, including a light and airy cheesecake made with cara cara navel oranges that has a chocolate crust.
We asked her for a relatively easy recipe.
She suggested Summer Tart with Lemon and Sun-dried Tomatoes.
In this recipe, she uses Boursin, an herbed cheese available at many stores. It’s a time-saver, she said, as the herbs are already included. But if you like, use cream cheese and add herbs, she said. And you can use toppings other than sun-dried tomatoes, such as prosciutto or kalamata olives. And one more thing: Don’t get hung up on the “Summer” in the title.
You can make the tart before baking, cover it and freeze for up to four weeks.
Snyder says it’s an easy appetizer. It also can be a luncheon entree, perhaps served with a salad.
SUMMER TART WITH LEMON AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
2 egg yolks, beaten
5 ounces Boursin or other herbed soft cheese, softened
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and julienned
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the sheet of puff pastry into an 11-by-14-inch rectangle. Transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets and cut 1-inch strips off each side, reserving the strips. Brush the edges of the rectangle with water and fit the strips on the edges, creating a border. Poke holes all over the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until puffy and brown. Remove from the oven and poke again with a fork. Gently push the pastry down as it will be puffy and raised. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets on wire racks.
Turn the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Combine the egg yolks, Boursin, goat cheese, Parmesan, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium bowl and season with pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Spread the mixture over the cooled pastries and top with the sun-dried tomatoes. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is set. Let cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Makes two tarts.