Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tarte au Citron

I was anxious to eat this last piece, thus the boring pic

Finally, something to blog about. I tasted a yummy Tarte au Citron at a dinner party a couple weeks ago and was inspired to make one of my own, mainly so I could eat a lot more of it. I stumbled across Thomas Keller's recipe that is used at his restaurants The French Laundry, Bouchen and Per Se. I've had the pleasure of dining at The French Laundry twice, due to the tireless efforts of a good friend, which involved months of persistent calling and checking cancellations online. I've never made one of his recipes before, so I was a little intimidated. But this was quite simple and even in my inexperienced hands and sad, little kitchen, almost perfect.

I got the recipe off Epicurious (click here for recipe) and it was amusing to read the comments. So many commenters had made alterations to the recipe, e.g. using Splenda instead of sugar, cutting back on the butter, etc. and then complained about the results. Hmm.

I followed the recipe to the letter, including using the pine nut crust and maple syrup mascarpone whipped cream. This recipe uses a sabayon technique instead of a lemon curd, so it's really light and smooth. I liked the pine nut crust, but the flavor is so subtle that I'd probably just use a regular pâte sucrée next time. I loved the cream and would definitely make it next time; the maple syrup gives such an interesting flavor. I found the recipe for the cream in the comments, which said it came from the original cookbook recipe. Simply whip up 4oz cream, 3tb mascarpone, and 1-2TB maple syrup. Yum.

So many commenters complained about the filling not thickening that I was worried, especially as I whipped like a maniac for several minutes with no thickening. Aaa! Then I remembered the key to getting custard-like things to thicken is temperature (at least 160F), not extra whipping. So I whipped out my handy-dandy thermometer and of course, my filling was only at 135F. I turned up the heat and within a minute I was up to 160F and my filling was perfectly thick. Crisis averted.

I did not have a kitchen torch, so I used the broiler as recommended. I was scared because the recipe says "it" happens in just a few seconds and I wasn't sure what "it" was and I was terrified of burning my tart. But after 10-15 seconds, little bubbles appeared on the top of the tart and like magic, a deep brown spread across the top. I did have to turn and move the tart around to get a more even browning. And I was timid and pulled when I was only spotty brown, not truly golden. It should have looked more like this.

This recipe is a keeper.

crumbs make me happy - that means people ate it

my cookbook, casualty of my sloppy cooking


Alice said...

Oh yeah it was delicious!

bytheway, photos didn't show up.

Tanya said...

Thanks Alice. The pics should work now.

Amy Mc. said...

That looks yummy. I will have to try the whipped cream recipe the next time I make some.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Sounds delicious!

leslie said...

Sounds really good, T. My preggo self is always hungry - that would certainly satisfy.

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Jenna said...

It was so fabulous, Tanya! All your hard work and diligence paid off with a yummy treat!

Thanks for sharing it with us!

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