Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart. That is the kind of recipe you gawk at while going through your brand new cookbook and think to yourself: “Wow, that would be so good. Naw, I couldn’t, that’s just too much butter…” .

And then you join a baking club and someone, in this case Mary of Starting From Scratch, chooses that recipe and you’re all like: “Yes! Finally, I have an excuse to make it!”. This week we had the option of making The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart or the Fresh Orange Cream Tart. Since I’m really bad at taking decisions, I didn’t. I made both of them. On the same day. Yes, I know, sooooo much butter! And citrus too, let’s not forget about the citrus fruit in these recipes.

We found blood oranges at the grocery store this week, it was fate I tell you! And the most gorgeous, fattest, yellowest lemons I’d seen in a while. I loved making the lemon and orange creams, the smell of the zest was all over the place, and the colors, incredible. I don’t know how I could have made these without a blender though, beating the butter into the zest, juice and egg mixture was extremely easy with it. This is one of the few times since I got my blender, ages ago, that I was actually happy I had it! Of course, since I made both recipes, I took a little liberty with one of them. I couldn’t help pairing the orange cream with a bit of chocolate. A thin layer of ganache poured onto the cooled crust before the cream, and I skipped the glaze entirely. Wow. The sweet bitterness of the chocolate paired really well with the tart sweetness of the orange and the texture of the ganache was very nice against the creaminess of the filling.

The lemon cream, I left as is, aside from a little drizzle of strawberry coulis to make the colors pop. The lemony filling was just tart enough, not overly sweet, just perfect. And then there was the crust. I’m so bad with pie doughs, tart doughs, pâtes sucrées, sablées, call them what you will, they don’t like me. I don’t have a food processor, so I made the dough by hand but I knew, after reading the recipe the first time, that I would have trouble with it. Not enough wet ingredients, I knew I couldn’t make the dough hold together. So I had a bowl of ice cold water at hand just in case, and I added at least 3 tablespoons of water before the dough came together. I don’t know if it’s me or the fact that it’s very dry in my apartment but in any case, I don’t think the texture of the dough was affected. I rolled it out to make the full sized orange cream and pressed it into my mini tart pans to make the lemon creams. Pressing it seemed to prevent shrinkage, I don’t know why exactly, but rolling it gave me a more even thickness. Either way, it made for an incredibly tasty, flaky, buttery crust. Both these recipes are very impressive and, if you can decide which one to make, they’re pretty easy to execute. I just hope you’re all more decisive than I am because I can’t even tell you which one was my favorite, I loved them both! So go see if the other members of Tuesdays with Dorie are better at taking decisions than I am!


The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 - 5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature

1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough (recipe follows)

GETTING READY: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days and, or tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate 'until needed.



Fresh Orange Cream Tart

Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 oranges
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
Scant 3/4 cup fresh blood-orange juice or Valencia orange juice
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
2 3/4 sticks (11 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature

1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough (recipe follows)

3 orange segments, for decoration
1/3 cup quince or apple jelly mixed with ½ tsp of water, for glazing

GETTING READY: Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and orange and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zests together between your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the orange and lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest.

Soften the gelatin in the cold water, then dissolve it by heating it for 15 seconds in a microwave oven (or do this in a saucepan over extremely low heat). Add the gelatin to the filling and pulse once just to blend, then let the filling cool to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (The cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 5 days and, or frozen for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.)

When you are ready to construct the tart, whisk the cream vigorously to loosen it. Spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the orange segments in the center of the tart and prepare the glaze: bring the water and jelly to a boil. Use a pastry brush or a pastry feather to lightly spread the jelly over the orange segments and cream. Serve now or refrigerate the tart until needed.

Sweet Tart Dough
Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

TO PRESS THE DOUGH INTO THE PAN: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don't be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

TO PARTIALLY OR FULLY BAKE THE CRUST: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

TO FULLY BAKE THE CRUST: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. (I dislike lightly baked crusts, so I often keep the crust in the oven just a little longer. If you do that, just make sure to keep a close eye on the crust's progress—it can go from golden to way too dark in a flash.) Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

TO PATCH A PARTIALLY OR FULLY BAKED CRUST, IF NECESSARY: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

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63 comments:

Mary said...

you are an over achiever! great job on BOTH of them!

Mary Ann said...

Very interesting. I can't believe that you made both, I was exhausted after finishing just one. Looks great!

CRS said...

Wow, you're a real trooper for not only making both, but for also going above and beyond. Those look fantastic!

Marie said...

Your tarts look lovely. They turned out perfect! Love the idea of the chocolate with the orange! I had a few problems with mine, but at the end of the day I think I sorted it as best I could! It was very tasty regardless!!

Isabelle said...

C'est superbe :)

Ashlee Wetherington said...

they look great! if you don't mind, i'm going to copy the directions from your blog since i either deleted it or didn't get them :(
bravo with doing both, I was tempted, but I had no one to eat them! (except myself!)

Patricia Scarpin said...

LyB, this is so beautiful! I love it that you used blood oranges - their color is absolutely stunning.

ostwestwind said...

Yes it has a lot of butter, you are so brave to make both!

It's a great recipe and your's turned out great

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

The Frosted Bake Shop said...

your tarts look delicous! interesting to see how many of us added raspberry to our tarts. my initial thought was to make both but i chickened out.

Grace said...

well geez, if i were forced to choose just one of those to eat, i'd go with the orange and chocolate version. why? simple--there's chocolate involved.

i know you're jealous of my extremely rational decision-making skills. :)

Vibi said...

You shouldn't have any complaint... your crusts are very nice too! ...and surely as delicious!
Mannn... this ganache thing though, has every reason to make ME jealous!
Great job!

Heather said...

Wow! They both looks so yummy! I'm going to have to try the orange for sure (I just made the lemon)!

Bumblebutton said...

Lovely job. Loved the chocolate on the bottom--yummy flavor combo and what a nice surprise to find!

Anne said...

Wow, both. That looks AMAZING. I'm dying over the ganache. Wow.

Carrie said...

Just beautiful! ... and those oranges! I'm breathless (and drooling). ;)

Andrea said...

They look delicious...the orange and chocolate, yum!

Sarah said...

Wow...both tarts?! The amount of butter boggles the mind! I love the color of the strawberry with the lemon. Very pretty. Great job!

Annemarie said...

I love, love, love blood oranges..and the ganache...nice work!

KELLY SCHMICKLE said...

Orange & chocolate...lemon & strawberry...what great ideas!!

Bridget said...

Wow how ambitious! I love the idea of the ganache with the orange tart.

Erin said...

This looks wonderful! Great job for making them both. I can't wait to try the orange one!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

How super that you made both lemon and orange cream tartlettes, and really made them your own! I can't wait to try the blood orange version, I've always wanted to try an orange curd.

Madam Chow said...

They are both gorgeous! I am constantly amazed at the creativity of the Tuesday with Dorie bakers!

Shari said...

Orange and chocolate sound fabulous. And blood oranges are a great idea to try. Thanks for the tips.

Amy said...

Wow, 2 tarts in one day! Your tarts look amazing. And I love the idea of putting a layer of chocolate on the orange cream tart!

Gigi said...

Delicious looking tart!

Engineer Baker said...

Blood orange cream sounds amazing, and I'm definitely impressed that you made both. Quite the overachiever!

lemontartlet said...

Oh yeah, wanting to visit your house right now. They look perfect!

mimi said...

love the ganache with the orange cream!! wow, must have tasted really delish. i'm actually tempted to try it again, just so i can try that combo!

Donna said...

WOW! Great presentation with the blood oranges!

Arfi Binsted said...

lovely citrus flavours!! oh yum!!

Brilynn said...

I've been eyeing that orange tart for a while now, they both look fabulous!

ChichaJo said...

These look delicious! And I can just imagine it with the ganache....yum!

I have never tasted a blood orange :)

Jayne said...

Ooh, now you've got me wanting to make the orange tart - those blood oranges were gorgeous!!

Judy said...

Gorgeous tarts! And to have made both flavors no less. My blood orange tree is blooming for the very first time, so I'm really looking forward to my first harvest. This tart will be at the top of the list.

Kevin said...

Those tarts look really good. I like the layer of chocolate below the orange cream!

Julius said...

Looks incredible!

Here's an answer to what you mentioned about pressed and rolled crusts ~

Pressed crusts do not shrink as much because the flour proteins do not interconnect throughout the sheet of pastry so they don't pull on each other when cooking. To avoid this when rolling crusts, rest the lined pan in the fridge for a couple hours before blind baking.

I love your blog.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Tammy said...

wow! that is a great effort to make both! I love the raspberry swirl on top!

RecipeGirl said...

They both look fabulous!

nicisme said...

Absolutely beautiful!
And hey! Your pastry looks fab too, not so scary to make then?!!

Di said...

Wow, both of your tarts look absolutely delicious! I love the color combinations in your photos.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

OH! Great job! I love the pretty presentation!

Linda said...

How beautiful is that? Gorgeous! I'm a little shy when it comes to a tart dough :)

April said...

Beautiful!!

Piggy said...

brilliant idea to pair the orange cream with chocolate! yum!

CB said...

Love the strawberry sauce garnish. I bet that tasted fabulous! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Lori said...

Wow, looks yummy. So pretty. Thanks for stopping by my site to check out my macaroons.

SiHaN said...

woah.. i don't believe it!you actually did both of them!!! amazing.. plus they look so good i wish i can lick them off the screen..

Amy W said...

Looks great!

Melissa said...

Great presentation!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Gorgeous! Your tarts look beautiful and very temtping!

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the kind comment!

Cheers,

Rosa

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Looks and sounds like a real treat. That pastry of yours looks absolutely perfect!

Natalie said...

Wow - both of them! Fantastic job!

Cakespy said...

Ooh it sounds so delicious--can't decide which one more so!! That crust shot just makes me want to swoon. *swoon*

Rebecca said...

Oh, gorgeous! I loooooved how the lemons made my kitchen smell, but blood oranges, too ... yesssssssss.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Beautiful tarts! This is one of my favorite Dorie recipes. In fact, I made the lemon cream myself the other day for another recipe. It is divine!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I am so impressed that you did them both. So much butter! So much goodness, right? They both look great! Love the chocolate orange idea!

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Wow. The ganache was a great idea. I am loving your creativity.

PumpkinGirl said...

man-o-man-o-man. That looks good enough to eat!

eatme_delicious said...

Wow your tarts look so awesome!! The crust looks so yummy. And I love how you did a thin layer of ganache on the bottom of the orange tart.

Kristen said...

Oh that has my mouth watering! You are a super over achiever :) Nice job.

Jaime said...

wow, beautiful tarts! i love the chocolate/orange combo - will have to try that next time :) i'm usually indecisive too (love that you made both lemon and orange!) but in this case i had no choice b/c i was leaving on vacation and had to finish 3 weeks' worth of TWD recipes before leaving...

Dolores said...

TWO tarts!?! I am not worthy. Great job... they're both gorgeous. I love the chocolate ganache with the orange cream.