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
7 eggs
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.


peter said...

Wait- there's tang in there?

Love the pants-ripping at work; it's like the dream about showing up for the final exam without pants, only it's real, and all the (no doubt creepy, maladjusted) men you work with actually saw your real ass in real life.

That's awesome.

Thistlemoon said...

You know what, that DOES look like a ray of sunshine. I am telling you there is nothing better than lemon and a good man telling you to cut the crap to get you in a cheerier mood. But I really had to laugh about the pants ripping at work. It is HORRIBLE, but funny. Are you laughing about it yet?

Anonymous said...

*standing ovation*

Susan from Food Blogga said...

That looks sensational, Brittany. And dang! That's what you call a blow torch.

Brittany said...

You had me at a pound of butter...mmmmm....

Emily said...

Omigosh- you're a genius!
I would love to try the lemon cream sometime. With that much European butter, it's bound to be good. I love the caramel and the pine nuts too. You are so good!
Sigh...I love dessert.

Sorry about the pants- that's devastating.

Helene said...

Look at that!! The pie looks fantastic wit that brulee crust! Well done!
Don't forget to email me your entry at sugarhighfridaycitrusATgmailDOTcom

Brittany said...

Peter- I'm all about the tang...
As for my colleagues- they're cooks. Need I say more?

Jenn- I will be crying about this for the rest of my life. But laughing too. I just wasn't ready to show every one my butt. Ya know what I mean?

Michelle- taking a bow in ripped trowsers.

Susan- no one comes between me and my blow torch.

Brittany and Emiline- Plugra makes the world go 'round....and also gives me a nice chubby keister

Tartlette- Hell ye-ah! I did send the info....I'm no rookie.

LisaRene said...

Lemon and summer do go together :) Lemon is my dessert of choice, and I even prefer it over chocolate! Decadent recipe!

Mar said...

Deliciosa y super tentadora tu tarta!!!, felicitaciones!!!

Heather said...

I love citrus with pinenuts. I made a gallette once with pinenuts and lemon-pepper honey that was my most shining moment of baking. Ever.

Since you do this all the time, crazy as you are, you must have many more shining moments of baking than I.

Also, lol @ your tore-open pants ass.

Brittany said...

Lisarene-Yes they do go nicely together. Though my form of summer lemon usually involves plenty of vodka.

Mar- Gracias? Hablo espanol muy mal.

Heather- Believe it or not, this was my first time paring lemon and pine nuts in a dessert. However, the last time I used pine nuts for dessert was a honey semifreddo with pine nut praline and berries, which was my most shining and shimmery baking moment. I was so pleased with it I could have made out with myself.
Lemon-pepper honey intrigues me greatly....I want to know more.

michael, claudia and sierra said...

oh my...
i mean
holy shit
that looks like i must have it

i need sexifying

Evelin said...

I'd like to hug you!
I've actually been looking for a gorgeous brulee tart recipe like this.

I'm afraid the word 'sexify' quite did it:D

Unknown said...

oh oh oh!! i am envious of your blow-torch! love that sugar crust on top. delicious!

iTink said...

You totally have to post me a slice of that.
Great work!
Pitty about the pants. Embarrasing much?! lol

Anonymous said...

Oh my that looks mouthwatering.

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