Well, hello again! And to those of you have have kept visiting and reading our blog, thank you so much. We have missed you lots, and are very happy to be back here
To tell you the truth, I have also missed my Mummy’s cakes over the past few months. You see, when Mummy said she was going to do some studying this year, I suspected that this might somehow interfere with my play and cooking time. Little did I know, however, that this would mean months on end when Mummy would spend lots of time with her nose stuck in books or the computer screen… And while the Bistro kitchen still managed to maintain a pretty healthy cooking regime, with lots of fresh goodies for me to sample on a daily basis, I must admit that the fun times in our kitchen have been drastically reduced over the past few months. Indeed, dear reader, I have been a very deprived baby birdie, with little opportunity to exercise my passion for trying out new recipes and playing with all sorts of yummy ingredients.
From what I’ve seen, studying looks very boring, and I really can’t understand why humans think it’s so important. One could have so much more fun with a bowl, a spatula, lots of butter and sugar…. Anyway, Mummy has finished studying now – yippee – and I intend to make sure she makes up for all that time we didn’t spend experimenting in the Bistro kitchen lately
We have a lovely sweet treat to share with all our friends today, but before we start, we must warn you that there are astronomical quantities of fat and sugar involved here This is definitely not what you’d call an every day healthy snack, but I guess it’s OK to indulge every now and then. Between you and me, when it comes to butter, I would gladly indulge every day, but my Mummy won’t let me
The inspiration for this came when one of Daddy’s very generous work colleagues presented him with lots of gorgeous, organically grown lemons from his garden. Weather in winter and spring has been very mild and quite wet here, which has meant a beautiful season for all things citrus.
When it comes to beautiful, juicy and deliciously fragrant lemons, the possibilities are really endless. But we can’t think of a better treat, suitable to be shared with Daddy’s colleagues over morning tea, than a lemon tart. This is a French classic, so our recipe was put together after studying two of our most trustworthy sources of French food inspiration: SBS’s French Food Safari and a book called The Food Of France – a journey for food lovers.
150g frozen unsalted butter, coarsely grated
80g icing sugar
35g almond meal
250g all purpose flour
½ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Lemon Custard Filling
2 egg yolks
285 g icing sugar
185 ml double cream
250 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
grated zest of 3 large organic lemons
To make the pastry, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.
Remove to a lightly floured surface and shape the pastry into a flat disc.
Cover tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Place the pastry disc between two lightly floured sheets of baking paper and roll out to line a 23 cm/ 9 in loose-based tart tin. Try to work as quickly as you can as the pastry will soften as it warms up.
Once you have lined the tart tin with the pastry, let it rest in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 19 degrees C.
Remove the tart shell from the freezer, line it with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beads, beans or rice. Ensure that the beads are evenly distributed across the entire surface of the shell.
While most recipes will say that it’s OK to place the tart tin straight into the oven, we have always found it’s much easier to place it on a flat tray. This makes it easier to move it in and out later, without having a mild heart attack every time, thinking that even a small clumsy move could disturb the base and break the pastry
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, then remove the beads and paper and bake for a further 5-6 minutes. The pastry should look just cooked but still be pale.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150 degrees C.
To make the lemon custard filling, place the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk for about 10 minutes, until they are creamy and pale and doubled in volume.
Add the grated lemon zest and the cream, one spoonful at a time, whisking continuously.
When the cream has been incorporated (the mixture will have thinned considerably by this stage), slowly pour in the lemon juice, whisking constantly.
Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell, return to the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the custard is set.