Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pot Luck

It all started when I heard about the pot luck at work.

Obviously I was going to make a dessert but what to make? Something that showed that I could bake well but not something too over the top. hmmm so what to make?

a tart!

I first learned to make fruit tarts when I worked in a bakery one summer. I would put the dough in the pans, have them baked, fill them with custard and then cut the fruit and place them delicately and artistically on the cream. Then glazed each tart and let it set. They really are beautiful and impressive.

However, I believe in using ingredients that are in season and fruits like kiwi, pineapple, strawberries and blueberries are not in too good this time of year.

So I decided to use lemon. Lemon curd with a sweet cream cheese, whipped cream and topped with a few blackberries.

Unfortunately while at the bakery I never learned how to make the crust or the custard. They were always made by the bakers and sent into the workroom for us to use.

I am intimidated by crust. Totally and completely daunted by the task of making a flakey light crust that doesn't fall or melt while baking. The debate over shortening vs. butter ratio makes my head hurt. I am still looking for the recipe, the one that is fool proof, the one that gives the desired effect everytime.
Please if you know of one, tell me! I will love you forever.

Butter is your friend

The water bottle is my make shift rolling pin...improvising

Tart crust:

The recipe I used was not reliable enough to post.
What I do know...your dough should be very cold, use cold butter, cold water and only work the dough until it just comes together. Do not stretch the dough when rolling it out and placing it in the pan this will make the sides fall apart. Prick the douhg with a fork many times before baking. In order to stop the dough from rising too much while baking put tin foil in the center of the pan over the dough and add dry beans to weigh it down for the first 20 minutes of baking.

I know all these things and yet it still fails. C'est la vie

Lemon curd:

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup butter

2 beaten eggs

~Better Home and Gardens Baking Book
Put sugar corn starch and lemon zest together in a bowl then add to a saucepan over low heat. Add lemon juice and and butter and wait until it gets warm and bubbly.

Now comes the hard part, tempering. In a seperate bowl beat two eggs. Add the 1/2 of the hot lemon mixture to the eggs whisking the entire time then add back into the warm pan and whisks/stir constantly until it thickens. * The idea behind this is that if you slowly warm the eggs they will not scramble and instead make a smooth sauce.

when thick put in a bowl and refridgerate for at least an hour.

Sweet Cream cheese:

1 package of cream cheese

1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

In a bowl mix room temp cream cheese and sugar. I taste in between in order to see how sweet and sour it is. Once to your liking refridgerate.

Fresh whipped cream:

Half a pint heavy whipping cream

3 Tablespoons powder sugar

In a cooled bowl whisk or with a mixer beat the heavy cream until it has soft peaks. Then add sugar slowly and mix again. Keep doing this until its to your liking. then refridgerate.

To Assemble:

Fill your piping bag with the sweet cream cheese and fill the pie shell.

Then add lemon curd on top and smooth out.

Fill your piping bag with whipped cream and a large tip and pipe in a circular motion around the circumfernce of the tart.

Add fresh blackberries to garnish!!

Its sweet, tart, light, gooey, refreshing, and pretty to look at.


  1. ummmm wow. literally no words. very impressive.

  2. Wow that looks good! The pictures look great, when did you become such an artistic photographer?

  3. Well this tart looks absolutely delightful and I am not craving berries to the nth degree lady!

    Also--I'm sure there are a hundred 'secrets' to good crust but I am going to offer mine anyhow. I was able to bake with a pie-magician over the holidays and when she made the dough (with butter) she put it in the fridge--I believe over night. Then when she was assembling the filling she brought it out so that it was a little more pliable. She told me that she left out some of the moist ingredients so that she could add apple cider vinegar by the tablespoon--knead it in--until the consistency was juuuust right.

    Just a little somethin to try sometime but from the looks of it, you don't need secrets!! Your pie looks like it turned out magnificently! :)


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