Monday, September 15, 2008

Lemon Tart Part Two: Lemon Curd and Meringues

Lemon curd. Can't you just taste that rich, lemony goodness? I know the word curd can turn some people off, but all I can say is get past it! You won't be sorry. I for one am not fond of creamy textured things- no squirting whipped cream into my mouth, sorry- I was completely in love with this. It was light and perfectly lemony without being too tart and puckery and it went so well with the homemade graham crackers. I guess that's why they're part of a classic combination. The recipe is from a recent addition, Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking. Like I said, it was practically perfect. It's kind of a culinary miracle that some eggs, sugar, and lemon and good elbow grease create something this wonderful. But there you have it. For those of you who are not familiar with the renowned pastry chef of Spago restaurant, get acquainted. Both this and her other book, Secrets by the Yard, are seriously wonderful additions to any serious collector's library. The tart was topped off with baked meringue cookies, which were more for achieving the lemon meringue pie effect but I think they were cute. How can meringues be bad? Unfortunately, I don't have a final photo as this dessert was served and consumed on Shabbat, so I could not photograph the result but use your imaginations!

Lemon Curd
adapted from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking

2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped or grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Prepare an ice bath, using a large bowl to hold the ice. Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Combine the lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.

Rub together to release more flavor in the zest.
Lots of eggs, yolks, and the lemon/sugar mixture in a heat proof bowl.

All mixed together and sitting over a double boiler. Immediately begin whisking. Check to see if the sugar is dissolved. Once it is dissolved, add the lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly for about five minutes.After alot of whisking, when the curd reaches a temperature of 160 and it has thickened to the texture of sour cream, remove from the heat and thoroughly whisk in the butter/margarine one piece at a time. Press through a strainer if desired.
My luscious lemon curd is complete! And oh so licious!

Here it is spooned into the graham cracker shell.

As for the Meringues:

4 egg whites,
2/3 cup sugar
squirt of lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Place the egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl. Start beating on medium speed. When the eggs have developed a foam, add the lemon juice and salt. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. After all the sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla.

This is what they should look like.

Pipe the meringue onto ungreased, heavy duty aluminum foil.

Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for about one hour. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to dry inside for as long as possible or for an hour. Enjoy!

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