Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lemon Tart

I was riding the success of the pine nut crust, so the filling for the lemon tart just had to be a success. Although it's not my favorite dessert, mostly because it lacks the sweetness to be considered among the best of the best, lemon tart is a good, light, summery kind of dessert.

The ingredients for the filling, a sabayon, are simple. There's lemon, sugar, butter, and egg. That's it.

I started by heating up a pot filled with just a bit of water to use as the base of a double boiler. After looking around for a big metal bowl to serve as the top half of the boiler, I settled on the bowl of our mixer. It's pretty large, but it's the only game in town as far as metal bowls in my kitchen are concerned. Here's the mismatched setup:

I whisked the eggs and sugar in the bowl for about a minute until it was nice and smooth. This is the base of the sabayon filling. I placed the mixture on the now boiling pot and whisked it constantly for another few minutes.

The rest of the preparation consists of adding some lemon juice and then whisking. And then some more lemon juice, then whisking. Action shot!

Then add some lemon juice. Then whisk. Then whisk. Then whisk. Then get an arm amputation. Slowly but surely, the mixture thickens, grows in volume, and lightens:

To get to this point required about 10 minutes of whisking. If you haven't done that before, it's kind of a long time. But we weren't done yet. I say "we", because this amount of whisking was a two person effort. I started to add small pieces of the butter one at a time, whisking in between until each had melted and was fully incorporated. Once that was done, I filled the tart shell. Action shot!

The filling didn't completely fill the shell, which was a tad disappointing, but by now I had figured out that both components were very tasty so I didn't care a whole lot.

While the filling was still warm, under the broiler it went. Action shot! Sorry, that's probably getting annoying by now.

About three and a half seconds later, it was browned. Ok, so maybe not three and half seconds, but really fast. No more than 30 seconds. Here's the finished tart:

We tried it while it was still warm, and it was great. We tried it again after a night in the fridge, and it was really great. Nice and tart, but still creamy with an excellent crust. The tart became a staple in our house for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for nearly the entire week.

I'll be making this again this weekend for three reasons. First, I still have enough dough for two more shells in the freezer. Second, it's very good and very easy. And most importantly, it's helping me with my upper body strength.


Liz C said...

Mmmm... lemon tart for breakfast... I think I'm in love. And I am so trying the pine nut crust.

mike said...

Both recipes (the tart and the crust) are definitely worth eating before 9 AM. It's fruit, right?

Victoria said...

This looks wonderful. It is the recipe in Bouchon that most tempts me.

I imagine you can use the lemon sabayon the same way you would lemon curd. Would it be delicious spread on toast in place of jam?

If I were thinking about cooking my way through a dessert book (which I'm not because it sounds too fattening), I would choose between Pure Dessert and Chez Panisse Desserts. You might want to check them out.

Happy cooking!

mike said...

I'll have to check out those books.

The sabyaon could probably be used as a jam, but you'd have to keep it pretty cold or it thins out fast.