A Birthday Treat
Today is the 2nd birthday of this blog! For the celebration, I brought a treat to show you and a recipe to share. The lemon tart above is the result of a little side project I started in January. Last year for Valentine’s Day, Ray bought me the French Culinary Institute Pastry Book. He knew I wanted to learn more about baking so he brought home this beautiful, though heavy and vast, book. Sometime in November he asked me if I was every going to use it and I realized that it was time for me to start baking and learning. I decided to make a recipe from it each week this year.
Although I tend to prefer baking with whole grains and less sugar, I figured I would try my hand at the classic French pastries and see what I could learn. Eventually, maybe, I’ll be able to adapt some of the recipes and techniques to my baking style. In the mean time I am in the tart chapter of the book. Spending a few hours each week on a new baking project is a treat in itself but I certainly don’t mind the chance to indulge in a rich and delicious dessert. So far, we’ve been eating a couple of pieces of the tart of the week and then sending the rest to Ray’s coworkers. We also started going to the rock gym this month, so I hope we will survive this weekly indulgence in better shape than before.
Thank you for joining me here and for celebrating with me! I wish I could pass you a piece of this tart, but instead I will share the recipe for the sweet and citrus-y lemon curd filling. It is a decadent spread with a complex lemon flavor that takes advantage of the citrus available this time of year. Although I don’t live anywhere near a citrus tree, there are lots of lemons, oranges, grapefruits and other thick skinned, soft, acidic fruits available at the grocery store.
A few thoughts about this blog on its birthday: As a two year old, I think my blog has come a long way but I think it is just starting to walk confidently instead of crawling or taking baby steps. Of course, this blog and I still have a long way to go. There is so much more to learn about writing and photography and how best to share recipes and projects. I am in the process of redesigning this site (while I also create a site for Seedling Design) so I hope it will be better and nicer to look at once I make those changes.
The more time I have spent writing here, the more strongly I have wanted to focus on sharing ideas for homemade and handmade. I spend a lot of time making things and I really hope to inspire you to create, too. As I continue on, I would love to hear what you think and what you would like to see here in the future. I’ll keep making and writing, but I hope you’ll feel free to share feedback and ideas or just take a minute to say hello!
Adapted from the French Culinary Institute’s Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
Aside from filling a tart shell with this curd, you could also use it as a filling for cakes and sandwich cookies or as spread on pancakes, crepes, or scones. It will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container for a week.
3 large eggs, at room temperature
5 1/3 ounces sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) plus one teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 3 lemons
6 1/3 ounces (1 stick plus 4 1/4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To start, you will need a heatproof bowl and a saucepan large enough to hold the bowl. Fill the saucepan with water so that the bowl can rest on the pan without touching the water. Bring the water to a simmer. Place the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in the heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter and place on the saucepan, over the simmering water. Whisk to melt the butter and continue whisking to ensure even cooking. The heat should be evenly distributed on the bottom of the bowl so that nothing will burn and the eggs won’t cook too quickly. Continue whisking for about seven minutes until the mixture becomes quite thick and light.
Remove from the heat and pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl to remove the pieces of zest. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.