Riverhead Farmers Market Inspires My Lemon Curd Chocolate Tart


Trending topics that have kicked off the month of February on the East End of Long Island are the arctic blasts and the Riverhead Farmers Market—polar opposites: an oppressive freeze and a nourishing thaw. On Groundhog Day opposing predictions from Punxsutawney Phil was for six more weeks of winter and Long Island’s very own Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal for an early spring. Unfortunately, I think Punxsutawney Phil is right. But one thing is certain (I predicted this one); the Riverhead Farmers Market is a huge success. Hundreds of eager attendees piled in from the front and back entrances of the 8,000-square-foot old Swezey’s Department store downtown. It took me 15 minutes to find a parking spot, and a few moments shy of purchasing some of my favorite edibles. 


The theme of the day? Sold out.

Miss Lady Root Beer was dry of their small batch root beer by noon. I was bummed. I had plans to make poached pears and a marinade for tasty short ribs; next week I need to get there super early. I snatched a growler of Moustache Brewing Company’s Everyman's Porter, as they eventually became tapped. Browder’s Birds ran out of their eggs twice after going back to the farm to replenish; thankfully I grabbed a dozen.

Miss Lady Root Beer
Tend Coffee
Kalypso Greek Yogurt

I made my way to Chef Lia Fallon of The Riverhead Project where I sampled Moroccan egg salad with green mango and a snow pudding, both made with Browder’s Birds eggs. The snow pudding was a meringue with lemon curd and a currant that resembled a cracked egg.

The RIverhead Project Egg Salad
Riverhead project snow pudding.jpg

After indulging, I scurried over to the North Fork Chocolate Company which makes artisanal chocolates and desserts from products of the local farmers. I bought the espresso chip bark crafted using LiV Vodka

North Fork Chocolate Company Bark
North Fork Chocolate Company

Fallon’s snow pudding and the handcrafted bark of the North Fork Chocolate Company inspired my lemon curd chocolate tart. How can the chefs, artisans and farmers of the East End not inspire anyone to create a meal or treat? And what better way to your sweethearts stomach this Valentines Day than with a lemon curd chocolate tart.

During these winter months a farmers market will surely keep you busy in the kitchen or happily stuffed. It is my way to ward away the winter blues and to be supportive of the East End Community. 

Bring on the next six weeks of winter as I will surely be creating a feast. 

The Riverhead Farmers Market is at 117 East Main Street, Saturdays, February 1 through May 17 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.


Lemon Curd Chocolate Tart

Lemon Curd Chocolate Tart


Lemon Curd

  • 4 large egg yolks from Browder's Birds eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter cut into 6 pieces; room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Melted Chocolate

  • 1/4 pound of espresso chip bark from the North Fork Chocolate Company, chopped (you can use any good dark chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream


North Fork Chocolate Company Bark
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons of very cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes


Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.

  2. Place all of the ingredients except the butter in a large heatproof bowl or sauce pan and set the bowl over the simmering water, but not touching, and whisk constantly until the yolks thicken; about 10 minutes. You do not want the eggs to curdle.

  3. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and whisk in the butter one piece at a time; wait until each piece is completely melted before adding another.

  4. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the curd; discard the solids left in the strainer.

  5. Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator completely, about 2 hours. The curd can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.


Tart Dough
  1. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine.
  2. Cut up the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about the size of garbanzo beans. Pulse about 10 seconds.
  3. Mix in a small bowl the egg yolk, water and vanilla extract.  Slowly add this liquid through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. The dough should be visibly crumbly where you can pinch the dough between your fingers and should hold. You are not looking for a ball state here.
  4. Remove the crumbly mixture from the processor and place on a smooth surface. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together.  Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough.
  5. Flatten each portion into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour before using. This will chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax. At this point you can also freeze the dough for later use.  
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to fit into (6) 4-inch tart pans or (1) 9-inch tart. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll. To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than your pan.
  7. Lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin and unroll onto the top of your tart pan. Gently lay in pan and lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry dough.
  8. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and freeze 30 minutes to chill the butter and rest the gluten.
  9. Preheat oven to 375° and place rack in center of oven. 
  10. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes; until golden brown. If the dough puffs up use a spoon to press down lightly and continue cooking. 
  11. Once done let the tarts cool completely.

Melted Chocolate

melted north fork chocolate.jpg
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer.

  2. Place the chocolate bark and heavy cream in a sauce pan over a simmering pot of water and stir until melted. (you can also microwave the chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl for 30 seconds, stir and repeat again for 30 seconds, until fully melted)


lemon curd chocolate tart

Place a generous dollop of the melted chocolate into the pie tarts. Cover the bottom completely about ¼-inch high. Once all tarts are filled with the chocolate place in the refrigerator to cool completely for 1 hour.

Once tarts with chocolate are cooled completely place 2 generous tablespoons of lemon curd on top of the chocolate. Sprinkle with a zest of lemon and shaved chocolate.

Lemon Curd Chocolate Tart.jpg

Makes: (6) 4-inch tart pans or (1) 9-inch tart.