Results tagged “tart”

Lemon curd tart

california, france
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While living in San Francisco, training as a chef at Tante Marie's Cooking School, I went through a phase of making lemon tarts. At home we ate them day after day after day, as I had to practise making the perfect sweet ‘shortcrust’ tart dough and the perfect lemon curd.  Matt didn’t seem to mind.

smlemontart0028.JPGBoth crust and curd are harder than you might think.  The tart shell must be perfectly even and crisp; the curd must have a perfect balance of sweet and sour, and be luxuriously rich and smooth.  And then there is the challenge of slowly baking the assembled tart such that the curd sets up beautifully and does not curdle, blister or crack.
 
smlemontartrhubarb0002.jpgIn San Francisco I used Meyer lemons - a particularly sweet and fragrant variety - but now back in London they are nowhere to be found.  I recently dug out my notes (including tips I gleaned from two fantastic pastry chefs, Jennifer Altman and Jim Dodge) to make lemon tarts for one of my Secret Kitchen dinners.  I served it with poached forced Yorkshire rhubarb flavoured with a little orange zest, and thick double cream. 

Note that the dough’s sugar:butter:flour ratio is 1:2:3 - easy to remember.  For a wonderfully golden curd, use free range organic eggs.

Tarte Tatin

france
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Someone pointed out that the ideal pan for pommes Anna was also the ideal one for tarte Tatin.  So true.  So here it is, while you still have the pan out.  Until now I've used the same pan for both.  However - big news - I made my first foray onto eBay a few days ago and very excitingly won the fancy copper pommes Anna pan!  For less than a third its retail price - ha!  Hello eBay...!   The pan arrived today and is stunningly beautiful.  My first copper!   (Please excuse all the horrible exclamation marks, but this really has been an episode of great excitement.)

Anyway, the tarte Tatin is a much more serious matter than the prostitute's favourite potatoes.  Its integrity is fiercely guarded by the Lichonneux Brotherhood of Tarte Tatin, who reside in the tart's hometown of Lamotte-Beuvron in central France.  Check them out before you bake - they're worth it.

Smtartetatin0001.JPGI made this classic French tart for the first time at school several months ago and have since made it several times at home as it is so easy and so delicious.  There are just two tricks:  1) Buy the right apples - they should be able to hold their shape during cooking.  Coxs’ Orange Pippin is supposed to be the best.  Here in the US I’ve had great success with Pink Ladies.  2) Work quickly when making and handling the dough so that the gluten in the flour does not get over-worked and the butter does not start to melt.

PS Some people asked what I was given to cook in my final exam.  Well, we were presented with a duck (dead), some mushrooms, a bunch of chard and several turnips.  Plus there were all the usual store cupboard ingredients.  So, I made mushroom ravioli with a tarragon lemon butter sauce, followed by 'duck three ways' (just to be fancy) - slow-roasted leg, pan-fried breast, a little liver crouton and some ducky brandy sauce - served with sauteed turnip slices with dates and garlicky chard.  There was a recipe for a chocolate cake for dessert which fast became the wonkiest cake I've ever seen.  The rest turned out OK.

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