Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A wee saga of 'The Lemon Tart' or 'Hail! The Lemon Tartlet'

For years now, Zok has been able to whip up a good tasting pie under any circumstances.
But there was a time where we went through many a failed pie- mostly owing to crust.
A few pies or close pie relatives have still caused him trouble, by example Lemon Meringue-which we filed away under "not to our taste".
However, we arrived home to many, many lemons and decided to try again with a lemon tart.  Personally- both of these pies are too eggy.  Although I find a small amount of the tartlet version to be very savory.  Adding meringue though, is just adding egg upon egg.  Zok's larger pie did not completely set, but the crust and the very top were tasty enough to try again with the same mixture.  He blamed the ceramic pie plate and switched to the above pictured, smaller, metal tins.
More importantly I believe, is that Zok has gotten so good at making crusts, breads and so he has that advantage- the crust is a huge part of this pie. 

Zok used a recipe for 24 x 8 cm - thinking this would be enough to experiment with, and of course the size of his own tins he ignored completely.  But if you, like me, like to follow an experts advice (here Richard Bertinet) including size and temperature just follow this:

First we have to talk about the pastry and blind baking:
Blink baking to my mind is just a fancy way of saying 'pre-baking' however Zok does swear by his ceramic baking beads to keep the form nice (you can also use rice) and to keep the crust from burning or even over cooking- so look here:
Sweet Pastry Crust

The Filling:
7 'unwaxed' lemons (There is no size indicated but I would use large lemons- or more than 7 if they were small, the ones shown here that we used were on the large size)
9 Eggs (I know! But this recipe is for 24; 8cm tartlets)
400 g of caster sugar (fine sugar)
200 g of double cream - which here is very thick, like a thick yogurt, with like a 42% butterfat- in America it can be hard to find, and often it is UHT or 'heat treated'...which does have a different taste, an option might be a gourmet store or health store that embraces a farmers market ethos. 

First- Zest four of the lemons and also juice them (you want the juice from all) and set the juice aside
Whisk the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl until smooth (basically until the sugar dissolves and when you pull up the whisk the mixture runs off smoothly)
then add in lemon juice
Lightly whip the cream and fold it into the mixture (double cream is so thick, you'd need to lightly whip it to make it pliable enough to then slowly add into the mixture aka fold)
Skim off any froth
Pour into your pastry  
Bake for 15 minutes, the filling should not wobble when you shake the tins (gently shake) and th ecenter feels just set when touched.  Don't wait until it feels very firm, as it will firm up as it cools.

Leave the pies in their tins for about 15 minutes, then lift out your tartlets and cool them on a rack for 2 hours before eating.  This is the hard bit, two hours is a good amount of time to let them cool and firm up properly so try not to be tempted.

Tip:  The filling and the crust both keep for a couple to a few days 
Also the filling can be served without the crust, you can cook it in ramekins and serve with some sort of cookie- which would be a way to go gluten free on this recipe.

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