Lemon Meringue Tarts
1/2 recipe P»te Sucrée
Madeleine Cake for Lemon Meringue Tarts, frozen
Small batch of Lemon Curd
I love individual desserts, whether they are cupcakes or cookies or these little lemon tarts, because I love having my very own. This dessert is all about contrasts in tastes and texture: the tartness of the creamy filling, the sweetness of the meringue, the crunch of the crust, and the surprise element of a layer of cake. Besides adding another textural element, the cake absorbs any moisture the meringue might release and prevents the meringue from sliding. You can use as much or as little meringue as you wish here, high
You'll need a Thermapen or other candy thermometer, six 3-by-»-inch tart rings, a pastry bag with a 1-inch plain tip, a 2 3/4-inch round cutter,
a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip, and a propane torch.
For the tart shell: Preheat the oven to 325 deg.F (standard). Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Following the instructions on page 130, roll out the dough, line the tart rings, and fill with rice. Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes, or until the dough is set and no longer sticks to the parchment paper. Remove the parchment and rice (store the rice for future use), return the pan to the oven, and bake for another 12 minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and golden brown. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Run the tip of a paring knife between the top of the crust and the ring to loosen the crust, then lift off the ring.
Meanwhile, make a Swiss meringue: Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture reaches 160 deg.F/71.1 deg.C, then immediately put the bowl on the mixer, attach the whisk attachment, and whip at medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until the whites hold stiff peaks and are cool. Transfer to the pastry bag fitted with the 1-inch tip.
Use the round cutter to cut the frozen madeleine layer into 6 rounds.
Fill the pastry bag fitted with the H-inch plain tip with the lemon curd.
Fill the tart shells with curd to G inch from the rim of the shells (50 grams/G cup each). Place the cake rounds on top. Hold the pastry bag vertically over the center of each cake, about H inch from the surface, and pipe the meringue to cover about two-thirds of the surface (20 grams each), then pull the bag up to form a dome with as much additional meringue as you'd like. Hold a small offset spatula at the tip of the domed meringue and pull it to the edges of the crust, forming a smooth line from the tip to the outside of the shell. Wipe off the spatula and continue around the tart to form a cone shape, then use the spatula to form irregular peaks in the meringue. Using the propane torch, brown the top of the meringue.
The tarts are best the same day they are assembled. They can be refrigerated for 4 to 6 hours; remove them from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.
Makes 1 3/4 pounds (800 grams)
2 2/3 cups (375 grams) All-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 » tablespoons (46 grams) Powdered sugar
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (94 grams) Powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (47 grams) Almond flour/meal
8 ounces (225 grams) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 1/2 tablespoons (56 grams) Eggs
A traditional p»te sucrée is a basic sweet dough. But Sebastien is relentless in his pursuit of more flavor and a more refined technique, so he uses powdered sugar rather than granulated or superfine, because it blends into the butter better. He adds most of the sugar to the butter, which has been whipped to peaks, then adds the rest of the sugar with the flour; he uses not only wheat flour but also almond flour, for its rich flavor. For even more flavor, he adds the seeds of a vanilla bean and, for richness and its binding properties, some egg. The result is a wonderful sweet, delicate dough, which he likes to use with less-sweet fillings as in the Lemon Meringue Tarts. He uses p»te brisée with most very sweet fillings.
Place the all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. Sift the 46 grams/G cup plus 2H tablespoons powdered sugar and the almond flour into the bowl; break up any lumps of almond flour remaining in the sieve, add them to the bowl, and whisk to combine.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-low speed, warming the bowl as needed, until the butter is the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Sift in the remaining 94 grams/I cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and pulse to begin incorporating the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 1 minute, until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, add them to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds to distribute the seeds evenly.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing for 15 to 30 seconds after each, or until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until just combined, 15 to 30 seconds.
Transfer the dough to the work surface. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough and work it together (fraiser). Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 4-by-6-inch-rectangle, about I inch thick.
Wrap each piece in a double layer of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, but preferably overnight. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
Madeleine Cake for Lemon Meringue Tarts
Using the following proportions, spread the batter in a thin layer and bake for 10 to 12 minutes; the layer should not take on any color. Let cool, then place the pan in the freezer until ready to use.
» cup + 1 » tablespoons (47 grams) All-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon (1.5 grams) Baking powder
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (50 grams) Eggs
3 tablespoons + 2 » teaspoons (45 grams) Granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (28 grams) Glucose
0.6 ounce (19 grams) Unsalted butter
2 teaspoons (9 grams) Whole milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (19 grams) Fresh lemon juice
Lemon or Lime Curd
Small Batch: Makes generous 1 3/4 cups (400 grams)
3/4 sheet (1.8 grams) Silver leaf gelatin
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (108 grams) Eggs
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons (108 grams) Granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (108 grams) Strained fresh lemon or lime juice
5 ounces (140 grams) Unsalted butter, cut into »-inch pieces, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1/2 small lemon or 1/2 lime (optional)
Large Batch: Makes 3 1/2 cups (800 grams)
1 1/2 sheets (3.6 grams) Silver leaf gelatin
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (216 grams) Eggs
1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (216 grams) Granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (216 grams) Strained fresh lemon or lime juice
9.9 ounces (280 grams) Unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime (optional)
Place the gelatin in a bowl of ice water to soften.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in the lemon or lime juice. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk slowly, until the mixture begins to simmer. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk gently for 1 to 2 minutes to release steam and cool the curd slightly.
Remove the gelatin from the water, squeezing out the excess water, and whisk it into the hot curd. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer set over the container of a Vitamix and blend on low speed for a few seconds, then add the butter 2 or 3 pieces at a time, blending until incorporated. Add the zest, if using, and blend to incorporate. Let the curd cool to room temperature.
The curd can be used at this point or transferred to a covered container. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
If the curd has been refrigerated and has stiffened, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix slowly until it reaches a creamy consistency.
Pecan Sandies for My Mom
Makes 1 1/2 Dozen Cookies
My mom, Betty Keller, was a creature of habit. She worked very hard at her job managing restaurants while raising five boys and a daughter as a single mother. She loved to have cookies on hand at the end of the day, and she especially loved the Keebler pecan sandie. It was part of my childhood, and it's a flavor combination, vanilla and pecan, that I associate with her. It was an adult cookie to me. There was always a bag of them in the cupboard.
Or almost always. We were six kids, and we were voracious. That was a problem when it came to my mother's cookies. We had our own cookies, Oreos and Nutter Butters, but when we'd dispatched those, there would be that bag of Mom's pecan sandies, daring us. It was really hard. Those cookies were sacrosanct, but sometimes, guiltily, we ate her cookies, one by one, until they were gone.
Mom had very few things she could call her own. She had no real luxuries. We didn't have winter family vacations; we didn't go to a cabin by a lake in the summer. She worked, and she gave us everything we wanted and needed. But we didn't appreciate it then. How could we know? How could I, youngest of the boys, know?
But I do now. Day after day, year after year, Mom set an extraordinary example for me. An example of hard work, attention to detail, and an all-consuming love for our family that I still have today.
Food is a powerful connecter of who we are to who we were, to our past, to our memories, and, for me, to a different and simpler time. Even the smallest thing--a cookie--can help us understand what we feel now while reminding us of what we once felt and who we've become versus who we were then. So much of who I am today is tied to who my mom was, the choices she made, the way she worked, and how she lived her life. What success I have today, I owe to her.
All of which is why the pecan sandie is so important to me.
1 3/4 cups + 1 1/2 teaspoons All-purpose flour (250 grams)
3/4 cup Coarsely chopped pecans (80 grams)
4 ounces Unsalted butter, at room temperature (170 grams)
3/4 cup + 1 3/4 teaspoons Powdered sugar (90 grams)
Additional powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg.F (convection) or 350 deg.F (standard). Line two sheet pans with Silpats or parchment paper.
Toss the flour and pecans together in a medium bowl.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the 90 grams/ 3/4 cup plus 1 3/4 teaspoons powdered sugar and mix for about 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there.
Divide the dough into 30-gram/1 1/2-tablespoon portions, roll into balls, and arrange on the sheet pans, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between them. Press the cookies into 2-inch disks.
Bake until pale golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes if using a convection oven, 22 to 25 minutes if using a standard oven, reversing the positions of the pans halfway through. (Sandies baked in a convection oven will not spread as much as those baked in a standard oven and will have a more even color.)
Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
If desired, dust with powdered sugar.
The cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Makes 8 individual cakes
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) Chocolate Biscuit
14 ounces (400 grams) Sweetened Whipped Cream
2 tablespoons (18 grams) Brune p»te » glacer
* P»te » glacer, sometimes referred to as compound chocolate, is used for coating. It can be used on fruits or in ice cream bars or cones, or to decorate cookies or desserts. P»te » glacer is available in three different flavors--brune (dark), blonde (milk), and ivoire (white)--and it doesn't require tempering.
2 tablespoons (18 grams) Crunchy dark chocolate pearls (optional)
2 tablespoons (18 grams) Crunchy white chocolate pearls (optional)
I have to confess that I've loved Hostess Ho Hos since they were introduced in 1967, when I was twelve. People love our version of them. Adults get more excited than the kids--I suspect because these make them feel like kids again.
We coat ours in p»te » glacer, a chocolate coating that doesn't need to be tempered. The pearls add chocolaty crunch.
For this recipe, we use Cacao Barry p»te » glacer, Valrhona Les Perles 55%, and Cacao Barry white Crispearls.
Place a piece of parchment paper the size of the sheet pan on a cutting board and set the chocolate biscuit on the paper. Trim the edges to straighten them. Turn the biscuit so that a short end is facing you. Spread the whipped cream in a thin, even layer over the cake, leaving a G-inch border all around. Using the parchment paper to help you, lift the short end nearest you and fold about H inch of the cake over, just enough to begin rolling it, then continue to lift up the paper to roll the cake into as tight a roll as possible, stopping when you reach the center of the cake. Repeat, rolling from the opposite side, until the rolls meet in the center.
Cut the rolls apart. Cut two 12-by-8-inch pieces of parchment paper. Place a roll lengthwise along the edge of a paper and roll it up in the paper, pulling back on the roll from time to time to tighten it, using your hands, a paint shield, or a straightedge. Tape the paper in the center and at the ends, and repeat with the remaining roll. Freeze the rolls overnight.
To enrobe the rolls: Trim the ends off the rolls, then cut each one into 4 pieces. You want to dip them while they are still frozen.
Lay a Silpat on the work surface. Heat the p»te » glacer until it is hot, then strain through a fine strainer into a small, deep bowl just large enough to hold an Oh Oh. Dip one piece at a time into the hot chocolate (preferably wearing latex gloves), making sure to cover the sides as well, then remove, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl, and place on the Silpat. Let the glaze begin to set, then garnish each roll with several pearls, if using. Should any chocolate pool and harden around the base of the Oh Ohs, it can be trimmed away with a hot paring knife. Transfer to the refrigerator.
The Oh Ohs can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in a covered container.
Makes 1 sheet cake
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (33 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (25 grams) almond flour/meal
3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon (16 grams) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1/2 cup (123 grams) eggs
3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (58 grams) egg yolks
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (111 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 1/2 teaspoons (23 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (74 grams) egg whites
A biscuit, like a génoise, is a French sponge cake, but unlike the génoise, where whole eggs are used, the yolks and whites are separated and the whites beaten before they are folded into the batter. This very thin cake, baked in a sheet pan, is flexible enough to be rolled up for our take on the Ho Ho (see Oh Ohs) and for other desserts. To make it especially pliable, we use less flour and more fat and chocolate than in a traditional chocolate biscuit. It's important not to overbake this, or it will dry out and then crack when you roll it. If you can, store the egg whites in the refrigerator for a few days before using them; the cake will have a better structure.
For this recipe, we use Guittard Cocoa Rouge.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg.F (standard). Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or spray the pan lightly with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the parchment.
Place the all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Sift in the almond flour; break up any lumps remaining in the sieve and add them to the bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to combine.
Place the eggs, yolks, and the 111 grams/H cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute to combine. Increase the speed to medium and whip for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then whip on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
Whip the whites in a clean mixer bowl with the clean whisk attachment on medium speed for about 45 seconds, until foamy. Lower the speed and slowly add the remaining 23 grams/1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until the whites are glossy with soft peaks.
Fold the dry ingredients into the yolk mixture in 2 additions, then do the same with the egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, using an offset spatula, spread it in an even layer, making sure that it reaches into the corners. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when you touch it lightly. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on the back of a sheet pan. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake and invert it onto the parchment. Remove the Silpat or parchment from the top of the cake.
Wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap, the biscuit can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours, refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
If you will be cutting the cake into shapes, the cake should be frozen before cutting. If frozen, and not being cut into shapes, the cake should be defrosted in the refrigerator still in the plastic wrap (this way, any condensation will form on the outside and not on the cake).
Sweetened Whipped Cream
Small Batch: Makes 150 grams/1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 grams) heavy cream
2 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Medium Batch : Makes 300 grams/3 cups
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (450 grams) heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (10 grams) powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Large Batch: Makes 450 grams/4 1?2 cups
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons + » teaspoon powdered sugar
1 1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
We like to use a high-fat cream (40%) for our whipped cream; do use it if it's available to you. Sebastien uses powdered sugar because it dissolves more easily than granulated sugar. It's best to whip the cream just before you need it; although you can whip it in advance, it tends to break down in the refrigerator. But taking cream from liquid to soft, silken peaks is a matter of less than a minute.
Place the cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the cream. Whisk at medium speed until the cream holds a shape when you lift it on the whisk and, if you will be piping it, is just stiff enough to be piped through a pastry bag; do not overwhip. It is best to spread or pipe the cream immediately after whipping.