Thursday, May 8, 2008
SHF #43- citrus therapy
I must start this post with the caveat that I am having quite the craptacular week. Nothing major or life threatening- just a lot of little annoyances that have been piling on steadily....One highlight I am willing to share includes the tearing of the seat of my pants while I was at work. Nothing like showing your ass to your male co-workers to bring you down off your high horse. Good times.
People with real problems should feel free to tell me to fuck off. Or as my dear husband says after listening to me piss and moan for a day or two- "get over yourself and quit being so pms-ey." God I love that man.
Anyway- I was going to put off my contribution to Sugar High Friday, for a few more weeks so I could focus on some recipes for work. Then I found out Helene, aka Tartlette, aka blogging superstar (I dare you to find a food blog without her included in the blog roll. Yeah, she rocks), was hosting this month and chose citrus as the theme. Citrus is so bright and cheerful. How could it not pull me out of my self-indulgent funk?
My recipe this month is definitely a little ray of sunshine. I morphed a Pierre Herme (also known as God) lemon cream into a citrus brulee tart served with caramel syrup and sugared pine nuts. Those who are unfamiliar with Pierre, or his lemon cream should be ashamed of themselves. Those who are, know that it's basically lemon curd with a pound of butter whooped into it. The final product sets up to a creamy custard-like consistency. I am almost always using it in some form on my menu. Fold in a little whipped cream and becomes a pillowy filling for strawberry shortcake. Sandwich it between layers of lemon chiffon cake, or mix it with mascarpone to dollop on top of gingerbread...It will sexify any thing. I promise.
A pound of butter will make it all okay
This version of the recipe uses the zest of lemons, limes, and grapefruit, and the juice of just lemons and limes. Including the grapefruit juice made it too sweet, so I had to reduce the sugar, but then it wouldn't set up properly....You know a recipe is good when it's been fiddled with about half a dozen times. The final product is the perfect happy medium. It's not too sweet and the three citrus flavors are well pronounced. I served mine in a lemon-cornmeal crust, and the sugared pine nuts are a nice balance to the tang.(I said tang) Now add a crackly brulee top crust, and you have attitude adjustment on a plate.
Citrus Brulee Tart
adapted from Pierre Herme
1- 12" pre baked tart shell
1# good quality butter, cut into small pieces and softened
zest of 1 grapefruit, 2 lemons, and 2 limes
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 oz lime juice
5 oz lemon juice
1 egg yolk
A very useful toy
Place the sugar in a bowl (large enough to fit over a pan of simmering water). Zest all citrus fruits into the sugar. Using gloved hands, rub the zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant. Add citrus juice to the sugar as well as the eggs. Whisk to combine.
Place mixture over a pot of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly until it reaches 180-182 degrees on a thermometer. Immediately remove from water bath and strain into a bowl (this both removes any curdled egg and zest and also cools the mixture slightly).
Transfer mixture to a food processor and add the butter, a few pieces at a time with the machine running. Once all of the butter is added, continue processing for 1-2 minutes.
Pour mixture into a bowl. Fold gently with a spatula and tap against the counter to pop air bubbles. Finally, slowly pour into the pre baked tart shell. Carefully place tart in the refrigerator and chill uncovered for several hours or over night before slicing into 14 pieces. To serve, sprinkle each slice evenly with sugar, then brulee it with a blow torch or under a broiler.