Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lemon Tart

Alternate Title: A solution to the macaron-bakers dilemma

This tart came about as I was thinking of an alternate way to tackle the excess of egg yolks that I am left with every time I make macarons. I usually make the macarons, separating the yolks & whites, and then have a finite time to use the yolks before they go bad. Unfortunately, unlike egg whites, the yolks don't freeze very well, and I usually end up on a ice cream making marathon, a mere days after a macaron marathon. Honestly, it makes me exhausted just thinking about it.

I have plans to make macarons next weekend, so I started thinking about how I might deal with the yolks this time around. I had an ah-ha moment, while searching the internets for egg-yolk recipes for the nth time. Why don't I make something that uses yolks now (or weeks ago, even), and freeze the whites for next weekend. Egg whites freeze very well, and to be completely honest, I think they make better macarons having been frozen.

So with that in mind, and with a family dinner on Sunday, I had the perfect event to bake for. A discussion at SIL's house lead to the revelation that we all love lemon butter, and by extension, lemon tarts. So I had my end point, all I needed was how to get there using the most egg yolks possible.  I resumed the search, but it seemed that there are two camps of lemon tart recipes - those that use a lot of (whole) eggs, and those that use 2-3 egg yolks. Neither really worked for me.

After extensive recipe reading, I came up with something that I was pretty sure would work. It's primarily a combination of a Donna Hay recipe, and one from I blogger I haven't read before - Little Accidents In The Kitchen.

  •  1½ cups plain flour
  • 125g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbs iced water
Place the flour, butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolks and process to combine. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring together to form a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Lining the tin. The pastry is a little thick, but my arms
were sore from all the rolling!

Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Line a lightly greased 20cm springform pan with the pastry, trim the edges and prick the base with a fork.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes & preheat oven to 180ÂșC.

Last 10min of baking, quite a bit of shrinkage going on there...

Line the pastry case with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking weights. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is light golden. 

Lemon Filling
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g sugar
  • Grated zest from 2 lemons
  • Juice from 2 lemon
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Eggs & sugar

In a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of water, whisk together egg yolks, eggs and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add in lemon zest, juice and salt, whisking continually.

Measuring temperatures

Add butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened. This will take 5-10 minutes, or if you're the thermometer using type, it will have reached about 65-75°C.
It needs a bit of assistance to go through
the sieve at this point

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.

Ready for baking

Pour the filling into the cooled tart shell and bake at 140°C, until the filling is shiny and opaque (about 10-15 mins). The centre will jiggle slightly when shaken.

Let it cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • My pastry shrunk quite a bit. I think it's because I was a bit gung-ho with the water. Add it slowly, and as soon as the pastry starts to come together (don't wait for it to ball up in the food processor), turn it onto the bench and bring it together by hand. Nigella has some good tips on avoiding pastry shrinkage, here.
  • The thermometer is really not necessary for the filling. I get a bit nervous when a recipe says to 'stir until thick' as I never know what 'thick' actually means. In this case there is a very noticeable change around the 65°C mark, and the once very runny mixture turns into a thick custard. You can't miss it.
What are your tips for using up excess egg yolks?


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mid-Winter Favourite Things

In this dreary part of winter, where rugging up against the cold is beginning to loose its charm; and the short days, while getting longer, are not doing so fast enough; I've started thinking about some of my favourite things, things that make me happy.

In no particular order, we have...

Organised spice racks

My cookbook bookshelves

A selection of sparkling water

A freezer of one-person meals. Lunch or dinner in minutes.

Tea and a selection of foodie magazines

De-cluttered wardrobe, with matching hangers

Red wine, Riedel glassware & the fire

Mid-winter tropical holidays with good friends

Absolutely amazing $1.65 Nasi Goreng on said tropical holiday

And on that note, I'm off to enjoy some red wine in front of our recently installed gas fireplace.

Keep warm,