“Tart au Citron” or lemon tart either way this is one dish that sounds tasty in both languages!
This week I asked Amanda, owner of Renditure Photography here in Saskatoon to meet me at the kitchen to give me some photography tips and techniques to get a better handle on my camera.
So for this task I needed a subject that wouldn’t spoil under the pressure and looking in my fridge I had a bag of really good quality lemons, I say really good quality as lemons in Saskatoon are a bit hit and miss so you have to grab them when you find a batch of firm but not too firm fat juicy lemons.
I then opted for a favourite dish of mine which I’ve been making and serving since 1990 and that tells you that this is a classic!
My background is classical French cuisine and this combines two recipes which turn into one luscious tart, Pate Sucre (sweet pastry) and lemon custard.
Lets talk the “eat” first, this dish must have thin crisp pastry, “tart” lemony custard smooth to the tongue and finished with a brittle sugar crust the same as a creme brulee. The sweetness of the pastry and the sugar crust contrast with the slight tartness of the lemon giving you a clean tangy taste in the mouth.
Complimenting this is a puree of fresh raspberries which works brilliantly with lemon.
Pastry, well one of my first adventures in kitchens was a short time working in a Michelin starred kitchen in my hometown of Norwich, the restaurant was owned by not a chef but originally a Chemist by the name of David Adlard who became a chef and using his science background produced some amazing food, but to get to the point making pastry by hand requires cool hands, if you have cool hands then you will keep the butter in the pastry from over heating and causing you issues, I have very warm hands and David told me “Simon you will never make a pastry chef due to your warm hands” funnily enough a make a mean pastry to this day 🙂
Taking butter, flour, sugar, rubbing together then adding egg yolks and a little water to make a dough then popping this mix into the fridge for a little down time and 15 minutes later its ready to roll.
Greasing the tin and rolling out the pastry as thin as possible without holes or tears then lining the tart mould very gently it was almost ready for the oven.
The next step is the most important “baking blind” no you don’t close your eyes, you need to cook the pastry before filling with the velvety custard so taking a sheet of parchment paper scrunching it up and covering the pastry, then I filled the cavity to the very top with uncooked rice.
The rice weighs down the pastry so ensuring you don’t get an air bubble forming causing the base to rise and making filling impossible, once the shell was cooked on with the custard.
Taking eggs,butter, sour cream, sugar, juice and zest of lemon and warming this mix over a water bath until it thickened slightly then pouring the custard into the shell.
I baked the tart in a cool oven until set then onto a cooling rack then into the fridge over night.
Today was showtime! I cut the tart into portions and sprinkled the top with sugar and grabbed my industrial blowtorch to caramelize the surface, which takes seconds.
I then went all out and made spun sugar, cooking sugar to a temperature of 300f dipping a fork into the molten mix and waving the sugar through the air to create strands of sugar that turn into a nest.
Then it was just a matter of plating and discussing with Amanda the composition and lighting.
I learnt a great deal about photography and we all sat down to eat caramelized lemon tart and discuss food and photography.
When life gives you lemons make lemon tart!

2 Comments

  1. 9-9-2012

    This dish sounds superb! I love the idea of the spun sugar. Your photographs are brilliant!

  2. 9-9-2012

    I absolutely love the final photograph! I have made this dish in the French class and agree that it is a definite classic!

Leave a Reply