Thursday, July 3, 2008

Meyer lemon tarts

Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques is my new inspiration cookbook. In the book, Suzanne bakes a meyer lemon tart for her chocolate-loving sister, so she layers it with dark chocolate. I am not a big fan of chocolate, so I left it out. For the crust, I took pâte brisée from the little book Les Tartes Salées et Sucrées (cannot find it online now) that I brought from France some 15 years ago - 250 g flour, 125 g butter, 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt (has to be simple, I am a complete idiot when it gets to baking) - and added 2 tsp of sugar. Mixed, chilled, rolled out into 6 thin rounds and fit them into 6 little tart forms with removable bottoms. Put a round of parchment paper in each, wrapped in plastic, left in the freezer till the next day.

When ready to bake, I took them out of the freezer, unwrapped, poured two handfulls of dried beans into each (on top of the paper!), and baked at 375F for about 10 minutes. Then I tried to take them out, remove beans and paper, and finish baking.
At this point a baking accident happened that left me with 5 tart shells and a horrible burning mess of beans and buttery pie dough in the oven. The remaining five continued baking for another 10 minutes, until golden, with the fan on high and all windows open.

I still have a few meyer lemons hanging on the tree from the last year. It's midsummer, better eat them soon, right? So I picked a couple that seemed plump, zested them (did I mention my new microplane zester? It's my pet) and squeezed the juice. They contained surprisingly many seeds and little juice, but two made just about 2/3 of a cup. Combined the lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks in a wide saucepan and whisked together over medium-low flame until it thickened to a consistency of thin sour cream. Whisked in about 8 tsp of cold butter, let cool a little and filled the tart shells. Decorated the tops with a pinch of lemon zest and a mint leave. They are chilling in the refrigerator right now, waiting for the after dinner drinks or the morning coffee.

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