france: March 2010 Archives

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.

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