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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet Life - Lemon Brûlée Tart

After what seemed to be an eternity, the long-awaited order from Peters Of Kensington arrived last week (took over 10 days this time). The new kitchen toys are a probe thermometer for bread making, an ice cream machine and a blowtorch. I couldn't wait to use them, especially the blowtorch!There's a ginger brulee tart recipe in Bourke Street Bakery cookbook I’ve wanted to try. But when a big bag of lemons arrived from my workmate Rob’s garden the plans changed to lemon brulee tart.

Before the blowtorch we improvised by using the oven’s grill to burn the sugar on top of creme brulee. It was sort of okay, it gave a burnt sugar crust, but it also melted the custard, ending up a rich and delicious drink.  So it’s exciting to have the blowtorch. I’m not sure why, but using the blowtorch made me feel like a sophisticated cook.

I used my leftover pate brisee (shortcrust pastry, tart dough) that I froze from last weekend, from making the silverbeet ricotta quiche (details are in my blog: The recipe comes from Michel Roux's Pastry: Savory and Sweet cookbook, which I adore. You can find the recipe here.

This tart is very simple to make, yet tastes sublime and looks elegant with a bit of burnt sugar on top.

Lemon brûlée tart recipe

make 4 small tarts

80g pate brisee (shortcrust pastry)

lemon curd filling
2 eggs
50ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
60ml thickened cream (whipping cream with 35% fat content)
40g caster sugar
4 tablespoons sugar (extra, for sprinkle the top of the tart)

Take the pastry dough (pate brisee) out of the fridge 5-10 mins prior to rolling (because of the high butter content, the dough is quite hard to roll just right out of the fridge).

Roll the dough to 2mm thin. Use the round 8-cm pastry cutter to cut 4 pieces of tart dough from the rolled pastry.  If you don't have a pastry cutter that size, you can use a glass or bowl as a guide to cut the pastry. Line the small muffin tin (80 ml capacity) or small tart pan with the tart dough.

Chill the lined pan (with pastry dough) in the fridge for at least 20 mins (to prevent shrinking). Pre-heat the oven to 180c/200c (convection/convention).

Blind bake the tart shell for 15 mins.
(note: blind baking is where you line your tart with baking paper and fill the tart pan with pastry weight, dry rice or beans)

Take the pastry out of the oven and remove the pastry weight/dry rice/beans from the tart shell. Cool the tart shell on the rack and leave them to be completely cool before filling the lemon curd.

You can keep the tart shell in an air-tight container in the fridge or at room temperature. It'll be good for about 2-3 days.

Make the lemon curd filling:

Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Whisk the cream and lemon juice into egg mixture until combined. Put the bowl over a small pot half-filled with simmering water and continue whisking the mixture to prevent any lumps. Make sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water in the pot, otherwise you won't achieve a smooth mixture. The lemon mixture will become thickened once it's ready. This will take about 5 mins.

 Take the lemon curd off the heat and continue whisking for another one minute. Chill the lemon curd in the fridge at least 8 hours or overnight.
Before serving, fill the tart shell with lemon curd to the very top. The tart will  need to be slightly over-filled.  Sprinkle sugar on top of the tart.

Using the blow-torch to burn the sugar unitl the crust is formed and brown. If you don't have a blow-torch, pre-heat the broiler (oven grill) to very hot. Put the tart right under the grill until the sugar is melted.

And voila....lemon brulee tart, umm...what a sweet life!

I love the blowtorch and it makes me wondering why I didn't get it earlier. Now, I'm having an eyes on creme brulee for dessert next weekend.

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