Edited to add: I'm horrible! I completely forgot to mention that Mary of Starting from Scratch picked this week. Sorry Mary!
Boy that's a mouthful, isn't it?
I gotta be honest here (mainly because I promised myself I would)... This week was a disaster for me. The first tart came out more like lemon soup (pictures on the left), and the second tart (pictures on the right) had a beautiful texture and a way too tart taste with a bitter aftertaste.
Onto the specifics! The first time through, I used Meyer lemons. I was excited to finally see these in my local grocery store since I'd heard about them on the web and had never seen them. (Sure enough, all of these were gone a day later. Everybody must have jumped on them.) I started the lemon curd/cream the night before I wanted to serve the tart. I had all of the equipment ready to go, including an instant read thermometer we've been using for years. I read up on the problems and questions thread and I thought I was all ready to go. I used my stainless steel bowl, and whisked constantly. It was tricky trying to get the thermometer turned on and in the bowl while whisking, but I managed it. And here's where the first problem comes in: I listened to Chicken Little between my ears instead of going with Zen Gut Girl. The cream had just started to thicken and I took a temperature reading. It climbed past 183 and I panicked and took the cream off the heat.
It was a little runny even after I added the butter, but I remembered some of the comments and hoped for the best as I put it in the fridge to cool. When I took it out the night of the party, it seemed fine. Until I whisked it to smooth it out and it turned into lemon soup. Tasty lemon soup, but lemon soup nonetheless. I forged ahead because a couple of the guests were big lemon fans, but it was pretty much a bust. (Oh, they liked the taste and were very nice about the whole thing. I just had visions of the tart from the book.)
I decided to try one more time, only with Key Limes instead of lemons for my man. He's not a lemon fan and has been itching for a Key Lime pie for months.
I think this time around that my technique was fine, but my plan was dorked. Instead of looking for a key lime recipe as a touchstone, I winged it. I just substituted the limes in place of the lemons and guessed how much zest would be the equivalent. (Umm... yeah... I figured that three key limes was about the same volume as one lemon. That's nine key limes that we zested to make the cream. Any surprise from you more experienced types that the cream came out bitter? Dur...)
I served the lemon tart soup with creme fraiche and blackberry coulis, and sweetened whipped cream with the lime tart to try and offset some of the bite (didn't work).
- The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
- Sweet Tart Dough (does anybody else think of the candy Sweet Tarts whenever they see this? No, just me? Damn)
- Blackberry Coulis (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Raspberry Coulis)
- Creme Fraiche (more to come on that, be sure of it)
As always, please check out the rest of the Tuesdays With Dorie group to see how they fared with the tart!