According to the legend, lemon plants were introduced into the Lake Garda region in the XIV century by the Franciscan friars. The first lemon houses (limonaia) arose on the Brescia (west) side of the lake, mostly in areas of Gargnano and Limone while some were built on the Veronese coast, where the main centre for the cultivation was the town of Torri. Lake Garda, with its 46 ° of latitude north, represents the most northern zone in the world where citrus plants are cultivated for commercial purposes. This is possible not only due to the Mediterranean climate of these areas, but also to the hard work to preserve the plants from winter severity. The greenhouses are in fact covered in late November only to be reopened with the arrival of the first spring warmth.
This wonderful recipe for Crostada al Limone (Lemon Tart) comes from the cookbook Sapori del Garda by Massimo Ghidelli.
Garda Lake Lemon Tart - Crostata al Limone del Lago di Garda
Recipe type: Dessert
- 130 gr (9 T or 1 stick + 1 T) butter (softened at room temperature)
- 210 gr (1½ c) flour
- 35 gr (3½ T) fecola or potato starch (can also use corn starch)
- 100 gr (1/2 c) sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- 200 gr (3/4 c) whipping cream
- 300 gr (1¼ c) milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 50 gr (1/3 c) flour
- 150 gr (2/3 c) sugar
- In a medium bowl, mix 130 gr of butter with 210 gr of flour and 35 gr of potato flour.
- When the mixture is well unified, add 100 gr of sugar, 2 egg yolks and ½ teaspoon of vanilla (which will give the mixture a delicate fragrance) and mix well.
- Add a pinch of salt and the grated zest of one lemon
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator to rest for one hour.
- In a saucepan, scald (without boiling) 200 gr of whipping cream and 300 gr of milk.
- Pour into a bowl and add the 4 egg yolks; mix well.
- Continue to mix as you drizzle in 50 gr of flour, 150 gr of sugar and the grated zest of another Garda lemon.
- Return to the stove top at medium heat, for 5 minutes.
- Roll out dough from refrigerator in a circle and place in wax paper or parchment paper lined pie plate.
- Pour in the lemon filling and bake in preheated oven at 180°C/350°F for just under an hour.