Day 4, Lemon Curd Tart

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

I just love the bright zing of a citrus dessert, don’t you? Chocolate has its place — I’ve known and loved many chocolate desserts over the years — but citrus just seems fresher and lighter on the palate, if not in calories. This tart came about through a bit of trial and error, but I was very happy with the final product and hope you will be, too!

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

The fillings are quite sweet — apple-lemon curd topped with candied orange peel — so a buttery almond crust is the perfect foil. Elana’s Pantry is my go-to site for anything almond-flour related, and this simple, rich tart crust did not disappoint. Just be sure to make the base as thick as the sides. You can see my base was a bit too thin which caused a few problems when cutting.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

Instead of a straightforward lemon curd, I searched for something that would play well with apple, as my original idea was to top this with roasted apples (which fell apart, hence the candied orange peel) and found an interesting recipe for a Bramley apple-lemon curd. Bramleys are a variety of cooking apple popular in the UK, quite sour, and quite impossible to find in the states. Still, the recipe was intriguing enough that I substituted the tartest varieties of apple I could get my hands on and walked away with a sweet, delicate filling for the tart. Now that I think about it, I wonder if quince would be an acceptable substitute for Bramleys. Hmmm…anyone?

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

I have to admit I chose the candied orange peel for aesthetic reasons, as I did the amount shown in the photos, but apart from the difficulty it caused slicing the tart, it was a good choice. I’d advise topping the already-cut pieces with a few slivers of peel just before serving to make life a lot easier.

2012 Advent Calendar, Day 4

But the absolute best part about this recipe? It’s a two- three- four-fer. Is that even a thing? The recipe makes a LOT of lemon curd, which is a wonderful homemade gift, assuming it can be refrigerated soon after you give it. Packaged with a little porcelain spoon and a sleeve of shortbread cookies, I promise it’ll bring a smile to your food-lover’s face. The orange peel recipe also yields a metric shit-ton, so give those as gifts, too, or make them even more special by dipping them in melted bittersweet chocolate first. LOVE. And then there’s the remaining orange syrup…stay tuned for that one.

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Day 4, Lemon Curd Tart”

Tarted up

090920_tart_top_sm

Restorative.

That’s what this weekend has been for me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It began Friday with an afternoon spent wandering Tribeca searching out lonely cobblestone streets for a portrait session next weekend. I found a couple of candidates that will work wonderfully, but the best part of the afternoon was simply being alone with my thoughts, not working, not stressing, just being. 13+ hours of working and commuting each day is draining during good weeks, but has been especially brutal for the past few months with no hope of vacation between April and Christmas and deadlines upon deadlines. It really got to me.

So that simple half day meant more to me than I can say. I returned home that evening practically dancing and ready to greet the weekend. We paid our weekly visit to the farmers’ market Saturday morning where I loaded up on produce, fresh cheese and grass-fed beef, then spent the rest of the day out and about. So there was no cooking until today, really, unless you count the white chili I made last night with the remnants of our mid-week roasted chicken. It was nothing out of the ordinary — just the usual suspects with cannellini beans and some Rancho Gordo hominy (and cooking liquid) thrown in for good measure. Oh, and topped with farmer cheese and some of that green salsa from a couple of weeks ago. Yum.

090920_tart_sm

I skipped the greyhound hike today to spend a little extra time cooking, so as soon as the boys left, I cranked up some bluegrass and got to work on this pear tart. I went savory instead of sweet, and finally got to try Clotilde’s olive oil tart crust (which deserves every rave review it got). It featured the goodness of caramelized onions, fresh herbs, gorgonzola, walnuts and fig vinegar. Again, nothing too out of the ordinary, but why reinvent the wheel when this combo is so very, very good?

But the first bite proved it was still missing a little something, so I sprinkled it with a little fleur de sel and grated a little Balinese long pepper over it. Yes, I sound like a brat, but this pepper is amazing stuff and went perfectly with the tart. Per-fect-l-y. It’s been sitting in my pantry since Memorial Day, and I can’t believe all the time I wasted not using it.

090920_pears_sm
Bosc pears channeling Rosalind Russell

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Tarted up”

Spring has sprung

090417_tarts

On a cool and rainy Monday afternoon, it’d be easy to grumble a bit and wish the vestiges of winter would just leave for good already, but memories of our perfect weekend weather keep my emotions in check. The sun and warmth had such a curative effect on my doldrums that I BAKED, people — and if that isn’t a testament to spring’s power, then I don’t know what is.

So welcome, Spring, and please don’t rush off so quickly. Perhaps I could tempt you to hang around with a nice lemon tart or two…

lemonquad

Pucker up!

recipe after the jump

Continue reading “Spring has sprung”