Monday, April 5, 2010

Meyer Lemon Tart with Lemon Creme

Last week we went to our favorite whole foods (also known as Harry's, and the same whole foods that Alton Brown films Good Eats) and I saw some meyer lemons, and since I have not yet made anything with them before I picked up a few. As we were checking out Dan saw the lemon tart on the front cover of a magazine and told me that I should make one some time. Since I had not yet picked a dessert for Easter, I decided that this tart would be perfect. This is my first time making a tart as well as the first recipe from David Lebovitz, I will doing both again soon. The tart has a strong lemon flavor and is a bit tart if you only use 3/4 c of sugar. I noted to increase the sugar or you could use all Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are less tart than traditional lemons. Top the tart with lemon creme, it provides a nice balance and reduces some of the tartness.

Lemon Tart:
1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (I used 4 Meyer lemons and 3 regular lemons)
grated zest of two lemon (one Meyer the other regular)
3/4c to 1 cup sugar (use more if you want it to be less tart)
12 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, cut into bits
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 baked French Tart crust (11")

Top with Lemon Creme:
1 c heavy cream
1/3 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
a pinch of lemon zest

Directions: 1. Whip all of the ingredients together until stiff peaks form.

Preheat the oven to 350F

1. In a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan, heat the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and butter. Have a mesh strainer nearby.
2. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the yolks.
3. When the butter is melted, whisk some of the warm lemon mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly, to warm them. Scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and almost begins to bubble around the edges.
4. Pour the lemon curd though a strainer directly into the pre-baked tart shell, scraping with a rubber spatula to press it through.
5. Smooth the top of the tart and pop it in the oven for eight minutes, just to set the curd.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving.

French Tart Dough

The brown butter mixture, directly from the oven.

After the flower has been stirred in, do not mix by hand.

Prick the dough several times with a fork, and bring the dough further up the pan than I did.

Notice the small hole in the baked crust in the upper left hand corner,
this is why you reserve a small piece of raw dough.

Personally I think this is the easiest crust I've ever made. Just be careful because the butter mixture will be very hot, so be sure to have a potholder nearby, and use caution when handling the dough.

French Tart Dough:

8 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 ¼ tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 T + 2 ¼ tsp water
1 + ¾ tsp sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
187.5 g all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).

1. In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.
3. When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4. Lightly butter the tart pan (bottom and sides)
5. Transfer the dough to an 11-inch tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.
6. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.
7. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.
9. Let the shell cool before filling.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Sugar Cookies

This is the same recipe that I use for the cookies titled the best sugar cookies ever. The directions are just different because these are to be rolled. I have also included a link to a royal icing tutorial that has a ton of pictures. Yesterday I made two batches of these cookies, one for my class (I tutor a first grade student for one of my ECE classes) and the second for my family for this weekend. Be prepared to spend a few hours on these because you need to wait for the outline to dry before flooding them. And wait again before adding any details. Between the two batches yesterday I spent about 5 hours decorating. If you need to take a break from decorating cover the royal icing with a wet towel (squeeze out excess water) so that it doesn't dry out. And place the decorating bags in a glass with a small amount of water at the bottom.

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies:


1 c butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar, sifted

1 egg, beaten

1 T vanilla

2 tsp lemon extract

2 tsp + lemon zest (I use the zest of an entire lemon)

1 tsp salt

2 ½ c flour, sifted


1. Cream butter.

2. Add powdered sugar.

3. Blend in egg, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest, salt and flour.

4. Chill dough until firm, about an hour. (I normally make the dough the night before I need it)

5. Pre heat oven to 325degrees

6. Prepare workspace with sifted powdered sugar

7. Prepare cookie sheet, I use foil sprayed with Pam for easy clean up.

8. Roll dough to desired thickness, 1/8” to ¼”

9. Cut out desired shapes, and carefully transfer to prepared cookie sheet.

10. Bake for 10-12 minutes be careful not to brown the cookies.

11. Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.

12. Check out this great step by step royal icing tutorial:

Royal Icing:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder
5 tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container. This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating. Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

Once all the cookies have been edged, transfer some of the remaining icing to a separate air-tight container. Thin out by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.

Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired. Gel icing color is best as it does not add a significant amount of liquid. Liquid food coloring can be used as well – add powdered sugar as needed to compensate for any thinning that occurs.
(Also from