When reading other people’s food blogs, you see only the rosy sides of the kitchen. Everything is always perfectly cooked, photographed, all the flavors work great together and everything comes out just right. Oh boy, if you only knew! I think I need to remind myself that everyone who has ever challenged themselves in the kitchen goes through a phase when nothing comes out right. I have wanted to rename my blog to “kitchen disasters” lately as things have not been working out as I hope. As I am struggling to find successes to post each week, I can’t help and mourn mountains of expensive flour that went into the perfectly formed bricks of bread made with my naturally grown yeast. As a matter a fact I should have donated all that bread to the local Home depot, as I am sure it would make a wonderful building material.
I mourn the great idea of pizza on the grill, again made with the natural starter, the dough looked so wrong I didn’t even bother trying to make it. I think of everything stuck to the pans, burned, over or under- seasoned and plainly not tasting great, ice-creams don’t freeze, gels don’t gel, you get the idea… …it is as if I lost my cooking mojo lately. It is very sad.
I may just do a blog on the most horrendous bloopers, you know, the kind you can see at the end of the movie.
Even when things work out it doesn’t mean they will make it to the table in pristine condition. I recently made two beautiful lemon cream berry tart. One traveled to a friend’s house and one stayed home to chill. Let’s just say that if you plan to take an hour drive with a delicate tart, don’t let your husband pack it and don’t overestimate the quality of roads in the state of New Jersey. The poor thing was tasty but looked very sorry upon arrival with all the berries drowned in cream.
Just to redeem myself, here is the recipe of the tart and the pictures.
Lemon cream Berry tart
For the dough
1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
1 stick of butter, cubed and ice cold
1 tbs sugar
¼ tsp of salt
1 egg lightly beaten
1 -2 tbs of ice water
For Lemon Cream
1 stick of butter
2 cups of sugar
Zest of 6 – 8 lemons
¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 Extra large eggs
¼ tsp of salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
Assorted fresh berries
Prepare the tart shell. In the food processor pulse flour and butter until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the sugar, salt and the egg and pulse until the ball of dough is just formed. If the dough is still to dry and not coming together, add the ice water one tablespoon at the time.
Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. Roll the dough and press into the buttered 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Make sure that the dough is evenly distributed and that there are no tears. Let the uncooked tart shell rest in the freezer for 10 – 20 min.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter the non-stick side of the aluminum foil sheet and press into the tart shell. Fill with pie weights, uncooked rice or beans. Cook for 15 min, than remove the foil and weights and cook uncovered for another 15 – 20 minutes, until the tart is golden brown. Rotate if needed to ensure even cooking.
Let cool completely on a wire rack.
In the mean time, prepare the lemon cream. In the standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and 1 ¼ cups of sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add eggs, one at the time, making sure they are completely incorporated. Add the salt, zest and lemon juice and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook stirring over medium heat until the custard begins to thicken. Once the mixture reaches a consistency of thick custard, cover it with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface of the curd (to prevent crusting). Cool in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.
Whisk the whipping cream with remaining sugar and vanilla to a whipped cream consistency. Fold the cream and lemon curd together gently with a rubber spatula until no white cream traces are visible.
Fill the shell and smooth out the top. Let the tart set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Decorate with berries before serving. If the berries are added to the tart long in advance, there is the danger that they will begin giving off juice and ruining the cream’s consistency.
this is the tart that stayed home
For the record, here is the tart that didn’t travel well, before its journey.
Whish me luck, I am going strawberry picking this weekend with hopes of making ice cream and jam. I better not screw that up as I doubt my family will forgive me for making them slave in the fields just so I can publish the bloopers.