Monday, February 20, 2012

Tarte au citron

I set a goal at the beginning of February: to learn how to make the perfect tarte au citron comme en France.  I also gave myself a roughly two-month time limit in which to accomplish this task.  This goal was partially inspired by an apparent manque de Paul.  While I'm sure there were better bakeries and pâtisseries, Paul offered the comforts that all chain stores do: those of availability and dependable quality.

I used David Lebovitz's recipes for both the pie and crust.  I followed the recipe for the crust exactly, but diverged slightly when making the lemon curd.  I doubled the recipe, except for the sugar; I felt there was enough sugar already, and I wanted it to taste more natural than sugary.  When I later tried the pie, after having refrigerated it, I found it to be much more sour than when the curd was warm.  Lebovitz advises that the curd should be strained as it is poured into the pie shell; I did not feel this was necessary, as I had strained the lemon juice after squeezing it.  I decided to decorate my pie with candied lemons, following this recipe, but again, not adding the full recommended amount of sugar.

I used six organic Meyer lemons, plus half of a regular organic lemon for the juice.  I candied the seventh Meyer lemon.  I would recommend using organic citrus because, as a former room mate of mine pointed out, citrus peels absorb pesticides and this recipe calls for zest.  More helpful tips on cooking with citrus can be found here, including that the fruit's juice yield can be maximized by juicing it at room temperature. 

The pie, as I made it, was well received by everyone who tasted it.  While it is not exactly like the tartelettes en France as I recall them, I like this recipe, and may adjust the amount of sugar when I make it again.


ANKA said...

Very cool! My mom has a Meyer lemon tree that has just given us three ripe lemons. I will probably make some curd very soon!

Vanessa said...

I only somewhat recently learned of the existence of Meyer lemons and I didn't fully understand the difference from regular lemons until I tasted them. Usually I only see adjective-less lemons for sale at the grocer. I highly endorse Lebovitz's recipe(s), but you probably already knew he was good ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that pie looks so yummy! :)