Monday 27 September 2010
[Just a bit longer and it will be another day - Lemon meringue tart and lemon cake]
If at times, nature compels us to slow down, I must admit I was slightly surprised when I saw the first lemons on my parents’ tree.
Lemons in september feels like eating strawberries around Christmas time for me.
But well, the little guys were hanging out in the tree and my sister’s favourite dessert in the whole entire huge universe is lemon meringue tart.
So I took this as an opportunity to remind you how lovely Pierre Hermé’s recipe is. This time around I just changed the crust for my new go-to recipe which seems to be easier to work with – which in my world means no shrinkage during baking (the one thing I dread the most in pastry).
Basically, you can make the dough and lemon crémeux a day – or three – in advance, and when you’re ready for THE tart, simply bake blind the shell and fill it with the smooth and tangy cream.
Whip up a nice and soft meringue italienne, pile it on the tart and burn with a châlumeau [blow-torch] or failing that the grill of your oven (something I’ve realised I’m not good with, burnt tart anyone?).
And trust me when I tell you I’m doing you a favour by writing down the ingredient list so you can just print it, go shopping and come back at home only to make the most delicious lemon tart you could ever dream of.
When it comes to the dough, the process is exactly the same as the one I described over there. Except thet ingredient list is different: less butter, more almonds and a tad more icing sugar make for the most perfect dough ever. Easy to work with, it will have a very deep aroma when baked. Just make sure you don’t get it out from the oven before it has the nicest shade of golden-brown.
As with most doughs, this recipe will yield to more than what you actually need for one tart. But I suggest you divide it into 3 to 4 pieces and wrap them in clingfilm. Then you can freeze them for as long as a month or two, and go back to your freezer every time you will need some.
Quite evidently, we also made cake. This cake to be precise. Because it is the best lemon cake. Because it’s soft and fragrant. Because it will keep for days. And mostly, because we need no excuse to make – and more generally, eat – cake.
This time, I used T110, which is a fine semi-whole wheat flour. I’m not sure it’s widely available outside of France, but I suggest you try making a tant-pour-tant using plain and whole-wheat flours.
What I love about this flour is the lovely aromas – deep and hearthy – that balances the tanginess of the cake and the sweetness of the soaking syrup.
As a matter of fact, I first intended to top the cake with a thick citrus and earl grey glaze, but ran out of icing sugar so syrup it became.
Whether you want to go for a glaze or a syrup, you simply need to heat the lemon juice to 70°C, infuse it with the tea for two or three minutes, then pour onto the icing sugar slowly.
I drenched the cake with it as soon as I got it out of its tin and it created the most perfect layer of fresh lemon flavour.
Recipe: Lemon cake.
And since this post is too long already, maybe I should add a couple of things.
ONE. I would love to hear your suggestions for upcoming articles.
What would you like to see on foodbeam? Is there a specific French technique you would love to learn?
TWO. I’m thinking of putting a F.A.Q. post together. I find them so fun to do. So anything you’d like to ask!
THREE. I hope you don’t mind my current REmakes of old recipes. To be honest, I really enjoy writing them (and photographing them with my pentax ME). To me, it’s all about: 1) highlighting some of the very best pastries around and 2) showing you new techniques/ingredients.
OK, I’m done now. So do ask your questions in the comments below and tell me what you want to see here! x