Tuesday, April 8, 2008

TWD-The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

This week's recipe, The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart, was chosen by Mary of Starting From Scratch. I have never made a Lemon Cream Tart before so this was alot of fun for me. We had the option of making the Orange Tart that followed on the next page, but my dad loves Lemon Meringue Pie, so this was the recipe for me.

Dorie gave lots of options with this recipe. We had three types of Tart Dough to choose from, and I chose The Spiced Tart Dough, which includes ground nuts, and I figured I could throw in a little Cardamom! She also suggested that you could double the dough and make little cookies to decorate the tart. I love making cookies and decorating them so I went for it! She also suggested serving the finished tart with Raspberry Coulis, so I decided to throw that in as well.
I don't have a large tart pan, so I made my large tart in a springform pan and a few with freestyle little crusts that I shaped with my hands (pictured above).
My lemon sugar in the aluminum bowl that gave me a little trouble. I wasn't paying attention to what bowl I used, and the aluminum turned my cream pale green. I had to add some food coloring so the finished tart wouldn't make us sick (from looking at it). Luckily it didn't affect the taste, but that is why my cream is so yellow. I learned something from it and I guess that is what is important, right?
The Spiced Tart Dough- I doubled it, used ground pecans and substituted cardamom for half of the cinnamon- IT SMELLED SO GOOD!

My little cookies- stars, tulips, flowers and of course, little lemons

I made a simple glaze of lemon juice, confectioners sugar, and lemon zest, that I drizzled and spread across the mini-cookies. Some I outlined with frosting and then filled in. I then sprinkled them with Light Yellow Sparkling Sugar.

The finished Tart with Raspberries, Raspberry Coulis, Cookies and Cool Whip

The 9-inch Lemon Tart with Cookie and Rasberry Garnish

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (1o 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough, Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts, or Spiced Tart Dough

Getting ready: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender(first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees, it will start to thicken and them whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience--depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend to cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for a least 4 hours overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days, or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refridgerator.)
When you are ready ot assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.

Spiced Tart Dough
1 cup ground nuts (almonds, toasted and skinned hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of ground cloves
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar

Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and cloves. With a fork, stir the egg yolk and water together in a cup.

Working with a stand mixer, or hand mixer, in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed, until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg and water and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain at the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a rubber spatula or your hands.
Put the dough between two sheets of wax paper and with your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll the dough, turning it over frequently, until you havea round that is about 11 inches in diameter.

To fit the dough into the pan: Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and carefully turn the dough into the buttered tart pan. Very gently fit the dough into the pan, lightly pressing it over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't be concerned if the dough breaks, as it may- just gently press the tears together with your fingers. Chill the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours.

To bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the plastic wrap and, using a small sharp knife, trim the excess dough flush with edges of the pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly across the crust and fill it with dried beans or rice or pie weights.
Place the tart on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake the crust for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is browned, dry and firm. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

If you double the dough and make cookies: roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch and use a cookie cutter with a diameter or less than 2 inches. Bake in a 350 degree-F oven for 13-15 minutes and when they are cool- decorate the tart.

Raspberry Coulis
1 pint (2 cups) red raspberries, fresh or frozen, partially thawed if frozen
3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

Put the berries and sugar in a blender or food processor and whir until pureed. Taste and mix on more sugar if needed. Press the coulis through a strainer or a food mill to eliminate the seeds.

I served this for dessert at a family dinner and it was devoured quickly. Everyone raved about the delicate flavors of the cream mixed with the spiced crust and raspberries. I thought the lemon cream tasted better before I added the butter, but I was the only one who was able to taste it that way. To see what other twists were taken on this week's recipe, visit the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll.


LyB said...

It must have been delicious with the raspberries and those cookies are so cute!

ostwestwind said...

Incredible, great work!
Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Amy said...

Wow, what beautiful presentation! Great job!

Sarah said...

Gorgeous! I love the lemon cookies! :)

Marie Rayner said...

Beautiful presentation! I love, love, LOVE the Lemon cookies and of course the raspberries. Perfect!

CRS said...

Wow, you did a fantastic job! I'm drooling just looking at it!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

The raspberries and the coulis look great! What a LOT of work you put into this one! Great job.

Anne said...

That looks perfect! I love the cookies and the coulis! Yum!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Oh, I love cardamom, too. It's great with strawberry shortcakes. Mmmmmm.


Heather B said...

oh cute! I love the raspberries and the cookies!

Annemarie said...

WOW! You really went for it...impressive! It all looks fabulous!

Madam Chow said...

The raspberries and the cookies make the whole thing look wonderful!
Madam Chow

Mari said...

The cookie and raspberry combo looks so cute! Great job!

Judy said...

I love the idea of making the cookies and using them as a garnish. Looks like it turned out just fine.

mimi said...

what a pretty tart with those raspberries! and i love the little cookies you made to go with it!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Gorgeous tart and cute cookies.

Donna said...

I love the addition of the cookies. So beautiful! I'll bet it was delicious too!

Tammy said...

I love the cute little decorations!

Dolores said...

I bet cardamom-scented pastry dough *rocked* with the lemon raspberry combination! Great job!

Melissa said...

Love the raspberries!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What fun additions! Love the spiced dough, cookies and the whole thing put together! Great job!

CB said...

Awesome job on the cookies, coulis and tart! Can you say overachiever? haha. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Natalie said...

Gorgeous job!