Lemony lemony Custard Tarts

HEY I STILL HAVE THIS BLOG LOL

 

Sorry I haven’t posted in years, kids (two of them, in fact).

So I’m making it up to y’all with two posts in 2 days. Fair? Fair.

Tomorrow we make Shrimp and Grits.

Today, we make lemon custard tarts!

Lemon Tart 003

I love lemons; they’re my favorite fruit and one of my favorite ingredients. This tart is all about lemons. Lemon curd, candied lemons, and lemon custard. It’s got it all.

Guys. The truth: I didn’t make crust for this. I hate making crusts. I’m really lazy about it. I’d pretend I was embarrassed but I’m just not. You can buy two puff pastry sheets at the grocery store for about $2. So whatever.

If you did want to make the crust yourself (you overachiever), just pretty much treat it like a pie shell. Pre-bake it for sure, and use pie weights or dry beans when you do so. Let it cool down before you put the custard in it for the final bake.

Good luck, you industrious little thing.

If you, like me, are not interested in that crusty nonsense, buy some premade puff pastry dough (it’s in your grocery freezer aisle).

Roll it out to about 1/16 of an inch and place it in a false-bottomed tart pan.

Bake it until it’s done, using a pie weight to prevent shrinkage during the initial bake. Allow to cool completely.

This will serve 6-8 people pretty generously. I served 12 per tart (I made 2).

For The Filling:

First, the candied lemons:

1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded

1 ⅓ cups sugar

the Lemon Curd:

1 ⅓ cups sugar

¼ cup grated lemon zest plus 1½ cups juice

8 egg yolks, plus 6 whole eggs

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

And the custard:

6 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice

6 tbsp. heavy cream

 

This recipe is going to give you more lemon curd than you need. Distressing, I know. My boyfriend just ate some of the leftover on yogurt, though I’m fairly convinced he may have actually just scooped it out of the bowl with his fingers (he says he didn’t but we know the truth, don’t we). (PS Photo credit to said boyfriend. His name is Daniel).

I would start with the candied lemons, since they have to cool down.

Candied Lemons 010 (2)

  1. Put your sliced lemon in a saucepan filled with water and bring it to a boil. Strain lemon and set aside (you don’t need the water for anything; this step just makes the rind less bitter).
  2. Add 1⅓ cups sugar and ½ cup water to your pan and bring to a simmer over medium to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Stir in your reserved lemon. Simmer those lemons until the rind is soft and translucent, like 10 minutes. You can just let these cool in the syrup.

I saved my syrup for future use, though I don’t know what that will be.

NEXT. the lemon curd.

  1. Whisk together the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and lemon zest in a 4 qt. saucepan.
  2. Whisk in lemon juice.
  3. Heat over a medium flame, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. When the curd is thick enough, it will stick to the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Drop the cubed, chilled butter into the curd one cube at a time, stirring until combined.
  5. Force it through a sieve with a rubber spatula.

Folks, I thought I was terrible at making lemon curd for years because mine always came out a little chunky. Then I worked in a bakery for a summer and learned that everyone’s does and people just strain it.

6.Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd and chill for at least 1 hour.

FINALLY: the custard.

  1. Preheat oven to 300͒.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar in largish bowl until well mixed.
  3. Gradually add lemon juice, then cream, whisking constantly.
  4. Pour filling (you will have a little extra) into prepared crust and bake until filling is set, about 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it doesn’t slosh all over.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour.

AND NOW: ASSEMBLY. I left my tarts in the pans to assemble and serve them because we had some issues with the crusts. No worries, they still ruled.

  1. Spread your lemon curd over the custard in the tarts. I put about ⅓ cup onto each tart, so about ¼ inch of lemon curd over the entire surface of the tart.
  2. Drain your candied lemons and place them in an aesthetically pleasing pattern over the lemon curd.
  3. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Lemon Tart 009

PRESTO YOU’RE DONE EAT ONE ALL BY YOURSELF WITH TONS OF WHIPPED CREAM


Ratatouille (sort of)

Sorry I haven’t posted in eons! I’ve been hell of busy with work and things and haven’t had as much time to play in my kitchen.

Anyhow.

I have mixed feelings about the movie Ratatouille (about an animated rat that desires only to be a professional chef). While I think it’s charming and fairly entertaining, I don’t know that it portrays the life of a restaurant worker particularly well (though the thing about kitchen workers being NOT HIGH CLASS is spot on).

I was, however, very intrigued by Remy’s (the rat’s) interpretation of ratatouille, a peasant dish from Provence. Ratatouille is traditionally a sort of stew made from tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and summer squash with herbs de provence. Everything is sauteed and then simmered for like a half an hour. It’s comfort food to the max, but it’s not terribly pretty nor is it very light-feeling (though it’s actually really pretty healthy).

In Ratatouille, Remy eschews the traditional take for a light, whimsical, beautiful interpretation of ratatouille that exhibits the stunning colors of this summer food. By baking ultra-thin-sliced veggies and layering the tomato sauce below the slices of squash and peppers and covering the whole business with parchment paper, the yellow/red/green/purple flashiness of the vegetables is preserved.

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Anyway, it’s not traditional but it’s absolutely fantastic. Colorful and simple, it’s well worth the time it takes to layer the slices of vegetables.

I made this for my house (as always), so it’s vegan and gluten free, and of course I made 4 pans (they were gone before the night was out).

Ratatouille a la Remy the Rat
makes 1 9×13 pan (serves 4 or so).

1 large zucchini
2 large yellow squash (think like 8+inches)
1 small eggplant (italians are nice and little)
2 long red bell peppers
3 cloves of garlic (more if you want) sliced v. thin
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced v. small
1/2C tomato paste
2 TB olive oil
2TB lemon juice
some fresh sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper

procedure:
1. preheat oven to 375*.

2. slice the zucchini and squash in thin slices, about 1/16″. I used a Simple Slicer, a Pampered Chef product my house has thanks to a resident’s mother. You could also use a mandolin, or this can be done with a very sharp knife, too, it just will be a bit more difficult.

3. slice the pepper and eggplant in 1/16″ slices as well. I had to do this with a knife because both were too soft to be easy on the mandolin.

4. mix 1TB of the olive oil into the tomato paste.

5. spread the tomato paste mixture on the bottom of your 9×13 pan. I lightly greased mine, but I don’t think I would next time.

5. sprinkle the onion and garlic into the tomato paste.

6. Liberally salt and pepper your tomato sauce.

7. Begin layering! You’ll do this in concentric circles from the outside of the pan in, like a braided rug. Or something else that spirals inwards. Um.
Lay the slices down one-by-one, alternating vegetables. You want maybe 1/2″ or so of each vegetable to be visible after you’ve covered it with the next one.
I put my eggplant slices down first in a single layer, because they were too big, and then on top of those I made the concentric circles of the other veggies. I also alternated zucchini/pepper/zucchini/yellow squash, because I had more zucchini than anything else. My yellow squash also had to be doubled up on each layer, since its slices were much smaller. The moral of the story is to do what works in your experience of ratatouille, you know?

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8. Once you’re done layering, generously salt and pepper the contents of the pan.

9. Sprinkle the remaining 1TB of olive oil over it all.

10. Strip the sprigs of thyme over the pan, sprinkling the squash and things with the leaves.

11. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the pan, and lay it over the top, pressing it into the pan slightly so your oven doesn’t blow it off.

12. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the veggies are your desired crispness (I aimed for pretty tender-crisp, rather than soggy). They should not be browning, and if they are edging towards translucent it might be time to pull out a zucchini and see where it’s at.

13. Serve hot with crusty french bread, rice, or maybe farfalle. This would be really nice with a dollop of chevre on top, too.

Done and done! It’s totally worth it, you guys.

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(
I don’t think it’s actually been cooked in this picture; apparently I took no photos of the final product. Whoops.)


Baked Eggs

Hi you guys!

I’ve been away from this blog (and writing in general) for a while! In part I’ve been busy, but it’s also a matter of me simply not writing a whole lot lately. I hope nobody missed me.

Anyhow, I’m trying to write more and as such, I figured I’d start the new year with a food blog post about a New Year’s Day brunch food. I’d have liked to have had a whole menu, but my housemate decided to go out for brunch (understandably; I have no brunch beverages) so I decided to prepare a brunch for myself.

New Year’s Day brunch is special, and should be accordingly rich (it soothes the hangover). This dish cures hunger and hangovers with gusto.

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Roasted Zucchini Adzuki Enchiladas

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This was a fairly panicked meal, since I’d forgotten that it was my night to cook dinner for my house until around 4 (we usually eat at 6). I hadn’t soaked the beans (more on that later) and hadn’t gone grocery shopping, or even planned a meal. It was great anyways. Continue reading


Asparagus, Spring Onion, and Goat Cheese Ravioli (and a quick Tomato Pesto)

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Ravioli are a celebration of everything awesome, like seeing an old friend. Why? Because they’re dough pockets of happiness. And cheese.

My dear friend/sister Alison came to visit me Friday, and I could only think of making pasta filled with delicious things, and since it’s spring, that meant spring onions from the garden and asparagus. Alison was kind enough to be my photographer while I worked. Continue reading


Sharp Cheddar Crisps (aka Cheese Shortbread Cookies aka Weight-Gainers)

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CAUTION! EATING THESE MAY CAUSE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: delusions of grandeur, contemplation of the inevitability of death, spontaneous singing, self-esteem-crushing weight gain, uncontrollable joy, acid flashbacks, overeating, etc.

They are that good and so incredibly eeeeasy. Flaky, cheesy, crispy goodness all over the place. You just have to ignore the ingredients as you add them, or your heart may straight up try to kill you for what you’re doing to it. Continue reading


Grillout!

It was delightfully hot/sunny/amazing yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. On Tuesday (that’s the 2nd day before, for those of you keeping track), my housemates and I had a grillout!

Why? Because it was warm and pleasant and we have a grill! It’s a little charcoal Weber, which I didn’t remember how to use for a hot minute (it’s been a while, a guy’s used to cooking with gas). Anyways, we made a bunch of things for vegetarians and meat-devourers alike, and here are some recipes for the bits that I did.

THE SKEWERS

When thinking of things to grill, skewers are a lazy-man’s must. They are so darn easy. See?

Continue reading