I love my cookbooks but, more often than not, it is to *teh innernets* that I turn to for inspiration and ideas. The cooking sites and blogs I read are all listed in my sidebar, and I have to admit are visited daily. (Or at least they were up until this week, where I finally started work again after a year on maternity leave.).
Anyway my ‘system’ for marking and remembering internet recipes leaves a lot to be desired: I try to bookmark them into a ‘recipe’ folder never look back. Not such a great technique however, since I end up spending hours trying to remember something I saw. Not so with this recipe, from a highly recommendable blog, which I have been meaning to try for a year now. Everytime I saw lemons, I had to think of this recipe and I have finally made it. And I can tell you: tried and true, it’s absolutely awesome. Because you use an entire lemon, you get a little bit of the bitterness of the peel and the zest which makes it taste somewhat like a gin and tonic with sugar. And no booze.
By the way, my biggest fan and harshest critic (all rolled into one) did yet again, not believe me that a whole lemon was a good idea for a tarte au citron. That’s probably because legend has it her husband makes the most perfect, delicous tarte au citron meringuée. But I have never had the privilege to taste it (HINT!). Anyway, if you hear me sistah, go make it!
Oh, and I am also using this post to make a little special smartypants insert about tarte dough (which my husband INSISTS on calling pie dough–a tarte is NOT a pie my friends!). As a disclaimer, though, I will tell you that my mother (what’s with me and my family in this post, huh?) makes the absolute most perfect tartes and subsequently, tarte doughs. Hers are buttery, flaky and most of all thin. I have somehow never managed to achieve my mother’s tartes’ degree of thinness, but I actually also like tarte dough so much, that i absolutely don’t mind if there is a lot of it! Ok, enough digressing, let’s move this along!
Whole Lemon Tarte
Basic Tarte Dough
2 cups of flour (about 240 g)
1/2 tsp salt
100 g sugar
145 g cold cold butter
3 tbsp icecold water
prep time: 5min, cooling time: 30 min, parbaking time 25 min*
metal mixing bowl and knife or food processor ( I beleive it’s called a ‘cuisineart’ in the english speaking world)
Make sure all your ingredients are very cold. Cut the butter in cubes and using a knife, cut it into the flour, salt and sugar, or mix it together in your foodprocessor until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the cold water bit by bit until the dough starts to come together. Roll it together in a ball, wrap it in clingfoil and put it in the fridge to rest for 30 min.
Butter and flour the tin(s), to be extrasure, line the bottom with baking paper. Roll out the dough to the desired size, fold it and unfold it into your tarte or cake tin.
Now you have two possibilities: 1) prebake the dough and fill it with chocolate, or strawberries and cream or I don’t know what, and 2) dust some almond meal or couscous in the bottom, fill it with uncooked fruits (apples, apricots you name it) and bake it as a whole.
We are going to go with number 1), and I wil give you a better and detailed description for number 2) whenever I think of it.
To make the whole lemon tarte, prick little holes in the pie dough with a fork, line it with baking paper and fill it with beans or rice or actual baking weights if you are truly fancy. Bake at 180° for about 20 min. The crust should be semi-baked and still somewhat soft, but shouldn’t break if you attempt to remove it from the tin (if it did, and your crust is ruined, I am truly sorry…). Remove the baking weigts and baking paper and put it back in the oven for another 5 min. Let it cool. Take it out of the tin and put it onto a baking rack or sheet
1 medium sized lemon (about 130 g)
300 g sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp corn or potato starch
115 g of butter, melted and cooled
23 cm round cake or tarte tin
Preheat the oven to 160°C. In your foodprocessor combine the sugar and the lemon and whizz it until it becomes a homogenous and delicious smelling puree. Resist the urge to eat it all on the spot.
With a whisk, add in the whole egg and the yolk. Sift over the cornstarch and slowly add the melted butter, making sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Pour the lemon mixture into the parbaked tarte crust and slide it into the oven. Bake for about 20 min. Increase the heat to 180° and keep baking for another 15-20 min, or until the filling is bubbly and golden. take it out of the oven and let it cool for a while before serving.
* This recipe makes enough for a thickish crust in a 27 cm tarte tin, or two medium crusts in a 23 cm tin, or a covered ‘pie’, or one 23 cm tarte tin and 10 muffin sized mini tartelettes. phew, thorough, eh?