Tartine Baking Project: #65 Blueberry Lemon Chiffon Tart

Currently my two go-to topics of conversation are: 1.) How hot it is, and 2.) Blueberries.  I really don’t want to be a Weather Complainer, but this heat makes me a sour lady with little to no patience for anything.  When drenched in sweat I am prone to being overly dramatic, unproductive, and a whiner.  Anyone who I cross paths with asks, “How are you?” as is standard practice for normal human beings.  My response, “I’m hot.”  Duh.  Everyone is.  I think I would be a better person if we had central air.  Or, if we just moved far north to where ever it is that people can wear pants and sweaters for 95% of the year.  Oh yeah, that was San Francisco.  Then I snap out of the sorry for myself heat stroke talk, and  remind myself I am close to the most amazing lake on the planet, and I love most things about the summer.  Like blueberries.

Through a stroke of lucky forward thinking, I had some tart dough in the freezer waiting for me and my favorite rolling pin.  It was a quick decision to use the muffin tray to make some tiny little tartlets.  Everyone just loves tiny things that are just for them.  I know I said ‘everyone’ — I really don’t think I’m making any assumptions or generalizations here.  Every single person in the world appreciates an individual serving size of dessert.

The chiffon cream is created by folding in whipped cream into the lemon cream.  (I have no idea how to not use the word cream three times in that sentence.  I’m sure if I thought about it, I could figure it out.  I just can’t do it.  I BLAME THE HEAT)  The lemon cream is so very lemony, so the addition of the cream makes the punch of lemon tolerable for anyone (Dan) who doesn’t enjoy extreme lemon flavor.

Once I started to place the blueberries in the cups, I realized I’d wanted to glaze the fruit.  The recipe calls for apple jam or apricot preserves, but I decided to use the blueberry jam I’d made last week in order to really boost the blueberry flavor.  After heating up the jam, I tossed about half of the berries into the jam, then placed them on top of each tartlet.  Maybe that’s not a suggestion because it does create a purple stain the cream a bit.  At least it’s a pretty shade of purple.  After some time chilling in the fridge, I couldn’t help but have a pre-dinner snack with a refreshing glass of lemonade.  It tastes just like summer should.


Tartine Baking Project: #44 Lemon Meringue Cake

My love for lemons helped calm my fear of tackling such a huge cake project.  As terrible as this is, I went in with really low expectations, because the thought of successfully recreating this Tartine gem just seemed too lofty a goal.  Spoiler alert: The cake turned out to be so crazy delicious.

So many lemons. 

Folding egg whites into the batter.

I think I’m getting better at cutting cake into layers?  I’m afraid to make it a statement, because maybe I will jinx it and never cut an even cake layer again.

Of all the components of this cake, the caramel is most certainly the weakest one.  I don’t think I let it bubble on the stove long enough.  Rather than having a rich caramely color, my caramel was a pale, faint tan.  I’ve made this caramel before, and it’s one of my favorite things in the cookbook.  I debated dumping it and starting over again, but it did taste like something that would pass for caramel.  And, re-doing it in the midst of making all the other parts of the cake just seemed daunting.

I don’t have an immersion blender, but the food processor worked just fine.  Don’t misunderstand me though, I still want an immersion blender.

The cake layers are brushed with lemon sauce, my weird caramel, and lemon cream.

I got this torch for my birthday a few years ago because my favorite dessert in the world is crème brûlée.  I’ve never made it though, so this is the first time I used the torch. 

This is not Photoshopped at all.  This cake is just amazing.

I am so in love with this cake.  There’s a lot going on in there, and all the effort along the way pays off in the end.  It’s one of those “Once it hits your lips it’s just so good” moments.  As I predicted, it was a perfectly decadent way to watch the Oscars.


Tartine Baking Project: #39 Shaker Lemon Pie

I really like baking things without really knowing where the end product is going to end up, especially when I am making something for the first time. (which goes for everything I make on this blog!)  When I make something without picturing the people who will be partaking in the good there is a layer of anxiety that is removed.  As I made this pie, I pictured the sweet faces of friends that’d be digging into it at our friends’ winter bonfire, and I started sweating.  Just a little glow, not like a full-on sweat or anything.  It’s actually a very simple pie to put together – those Shakers had things figured out.  Regardless of simplicity, sometimes there are just tiny little snags in the works to really keep you on your toes.

My first hurdle: a set of crappy old knives.  These lemons needed to be sliced paper thin, as you put it all into the pie and no one wants to bite into what seems like half of a lemon.  There was a bit of sawing and mangling of the lemons even though I chilled them so they’d be easier to slice, and I used that sharpener thing too.  I don’t know, maybe someone who calls it a “sharpener thing” shouldn’t have a kitchen sheath of sharp knives.  No, I take that back.  I need better knives.

My second hurdle: uh, what kind of lemons do I have?  I really thought I’d bought Meyer lemons even though the ones I brought home were huge.  The type of lemon is important because it dictates how long the sliced lemons need to marinate in the sugar.  In a weird crunch for time, it made sense to meet in the middle of the marinating times.  It made sense at the time, but now?  Not so much.

I will say this is the best flaky tart dough I’ve whipped up yet.  I really think I did everything the same exact way, but for whatever reason it was a lot more moist than I’ve made in the past.  And, I got to use my rolling mat that easily measures the dough I’m rolling out!  No more old, gross tape measure around my food!  (It was really that gross.)

I contemplated creating some sort of footballish design, but I decided a crooked star thing was more beautiful.

The crust was golden and delicious, and there were no seeds.  At least, none that I know of, and that’s really what matters.  On the other hand, it turns out the lemons should have marinated a just a little longer, especially since they were sliced a little thicker than I would have liked… Even with all of this, the pie wasn’t bad.  It was pretty tasty, I just think I’m hyper critical of anything I create.  The whole pie was gone pretty quickly, and everyone said they liked it.  I know that it could have been better.  It’s a strange thing, making things just once with this project.  I’m a wee bit of a perfectionist, and sometimes I want a do-over.  What I’m trying to say is that while many people have cooked their way through cookbooks, who’s ever cooked through the same cookbook twice?  Come September I am going to go through the Tartine cookbook again!  Just kidding.  But I do look forward to making this again though and serving it to the same people to prove that I can make a perfect Shaker Lemon Pie.