Hanging out at the Dairy

Hanging out at the Dairy
Darci(far left) & the Wrights at the Creamery

Monday, September 12, 2011

He asked for something lemon for his birthday dessert...

"I'd like to make you something for your birthday dessert, what would you like?" I asked Uncle Tom.

He replied, "Something lemon!" and it was on!

I LOVE the chance to make something lemon...it's a favorite of mine, my sons and NOT my husband, so now the reason for creating something lemon was "hatched". This called for something fresh, light, creamy and a taste reminiscent  of our long awaited summer sunshine!

When I was cooking years ago at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, WA, we made a Lemon Tart that was a almost constant offering on the dessert cart. This was my launching point as they made their's with fresh lemon curd and lightened the curd with whipped cream. I wanted the dense creaminess of the curd and a little cooked meringue on top.

I started with a basic tart dough recipe found in Pimm T's Foodie Handbook cookbook. Her blog was the first blogsite (chez pimm) I ever visited! Her passion for food, photography and travel hit all my emotional checkmarks!

Her tart dough recipe was easy to follow and suggests an hour or more chilling before rolling out so I stared there. All the dry ingredients into the food processor. I couldn't help but embellish the recipe and added a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

The dough came together nicely with the addition of the cold liquid. I substituted cold buttermilk for cold milk because that's what was left in my fridge after my morning coffee-LOL!

I made an inch thick round of the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled in fridge for over an hour.
Now onto the lemon curd...

I hadn't used this product before and since it's "not from concentrate", thought it would be an interesting alternative to fresh lemons. 

My Lemon Curd Recipe
*Separate 1 dozen (farm fresh, natural or certified organic) eggs and place yolks in a heat proof, larger bowl
*Add: 1 cup of the lemon juice, 1 cup fine sugar, a pinch of sea salt, the zest from half a lemon and 2 teaspoons of Bourbon Vanilla to yolks and whisk.
*Place mixture on steaming but not hard boiling, double boiler. Gently and consistently whisk. The mixture will get foamy at first, then the foam will dissipate as it thickens. It should reach the consistency of a not-set pudding.
*Add 3-4 Tablespoons cubes of cold Unsalted Butter one at a time, whisking continuously. Add another cube when the butter fully incorporates into the golden mixture.
*When butter is fully incorporated, remove bowl from double boiler, whisk down the sides of bowl one last time and cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Makes about 3 cups delectable lemon curd!
Curd will hold in fridge for about a week.

eggs and yolks seperated

adding ingredients to the yolks

whisking yolk mixture on double boiler, still foamy

One of my favorite tart pans is this slightly rectangular pan from Sur La Table. The silicone baking sheet can also be purchased there or at SLT or Demarle's online stores or from your local Demarle representative. The perforated baking sheet underneath the mat is from Demarle. 

I lost the tart liner so used the baking sheet instead
I rolled out the dough, pressed into the pan, cut off the excess from the top edges, forked t the uncooked dough,filled with parchment paper and dried split peas. Into a 375 degree pre-heated oven it went for about 12 minutes. Remove parchment and peas, back in for another 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the tart frame from the crust. Place cooled crust on your serving vessel before filling to minimize risk of breaking.

I filled the tart shell with the chilled lemon curd. This pan used all but about 3/4 cup of curd.

almost ready to serve!
The meringue I endeavored to make is a cooked meringue. There are options not to cook it but I wanted a more stiff and stable meringue for this after football practice and after dinner timeline!

Cooked Meringue Recipe
*The chilled dozen egg whites were transferred to a larger stainless bowl for the double boiler. 
*Whisk in a 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tarter, a pinch of salt. 
*Onto the double boiler this bowl goes, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes when a thick foam develops.
*Pour clumpy mixture of foam and liquid whites into mixer or mixing bowl. Don't freak out that the mixture looks like partially scrambled eggs, they kind of are! Have faith, Julia Child's bullet points on meringue technique points this anxiety out and the recipe works!
*Beat on high heat for about 5-6 minutes. I did 7 minutes and they were too stiff to pipe with many decorative options.

Meringue about 3 minutes into beating

meringue after 7 minutes beating
 *Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula and place into a pastry bag or onto the dessert itself. Your option here but work quickly as the white become rigid after cooling.

I served Uncle Tom's Tart with more freshly zested lemon for color and flavor and added some birthday candles. Lovely, creamy, rich and refreshing!

Here's to birthdays and celebrations of any kind! Make each one special by doing something personal to show your loved ones how much you care. Food is food, but meals together can make memories!

Chow for now my friends!

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