I remember my first appointment with my first OB (I moved to San Diego when I was 5 months pregnant with our first), like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the waiting room with my husband and my cell phone rang.
Now I rarely pick up my cell phone when it rings. It’s always on silent, I never hear it. But, I had turned the ringer on and of course it rang while I was in the waiting room. Luckily it was someone I actually wanted to talk to. So I answered.
“Hi! How are you?”
“I’m good, you?”
“Good! I have a question.”
“How do you make the stuff for the fruit pizza thing, I’m at the grocery store and I have a craving for it.”
“I think it’s just fluff…or you could probably use vanilla frosting. I can’t really remember.”
“Okay, I’ll do that. What are you doing?”
“Haha. For what?”
“I’m at Dr.____’s office.”
“What?! What are you doing there?”
“Waiting.” (I kid you not…I have jokes, haha)
“WHY are you there?”
“I’m havin’ a baby!!”
“WHAT?! OH MY GOD, CONGRATULATIONS! ME TOO!!”
“WHAT?! SERIOUSLY? Are you joking?”
It’s was like something out of Bride Wars…but not. Crazy.
Remember when I said weird stuff happens to me? Well, when she said that, I swear, I was looking around for cameras, because I think people pull this stuff on me, film it and put it on YouTube. She was really pregnant. No joke.
Well, what I should have told her to use is Lemon Curd. But…ya know…I couldn’t remember, that’s what happens when you’re pregnant, you can’t remember…anything. That’s probably why she was calling me to ask, because she couldn’t remember either. What is even more fun is having 9 friends all pregnant at the same time…then NO ONE can remember anything. In place of those lost brain cells there is fudge brownies and garlic french fries. And pizza.
So anyways…this one is for her, because I couldn’t remember that day, but I can remember now. However, I don’t have the fruit I need for this and I don’t want to go grocery shopping so I am just making a lemon tart.
Lemon makes the world a fresher place. In food, it tastes bright, summery and clean. In the dishwasher (for my friend that puts Lemon Kool-aid in her dishwasher to clean it…) it smells clean. It’s pretty much the cure-all for stains, smells and plain food. What an amazing fruit! (<–I said that with an abundance of enthusiasm. Probably enough to make someone think I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not. It REALLY is an amazing fruit!).
Tarts are pretty easy. The crust part. Lemon curd, not so easy. It wasn’t until I was doing bit of research on Lemon curd that I realized that there are a lot of people that have a hard time with curd. I guess I feel pretty lucky that I can do this, but there are some tips…we’ll get into those in a second.
Everytime I make Lemon Curd, I always base mine on Ina Garten’s recipe. It is deliciously lemon, but not in a “kill your taste buds sour” kind of way, but I do realize that it looks like a lot of work and complex. Ina also uses Mutant Extra-Large eggs, which creates a problem for those of us that use farm fresh eggs and even those that don’t cook or bake a lot and just buy large eggs. They are two different sizes and two different measurements.
1 Large eggs= 3.5 Tablespoons of liquid, the yolk being 1.5 Tablespoons of that.
1 XL egg= 4 Tablespoons of liquid, the yolk being 2 Tablespoons of that.
The eggs I was using for this were large. So if you are using Large eggs, you’re going to have to be like me and measure them. 4 large egg PLUS 1 yolk, came to 1 cup (as 4Tablespoons=1/4 cup). Since you want this mix for the curd to THICKEN, you want to add the yolk first if you are a little under 1 cup and if you still need more, add some of the whites. Make sure your eggs are Room Temperature. So if you want to make this, take out the eggs you need in the morning. Eggs take a while to warm up.
When zesting. Only zest the ‘yellow’, don’t zest the ‘white’. That’s bitter and you don’t want that. Zest before juicing. If you wait until after, that is just a mess.
For the heating the curd part. This is tricky. And I’ll tell you what I did. There is milk, in the butter, we all know that. I’m sure at some point in science class you learned that adding an acid to milk would cause it to curdle. I know her recipe says to mix it all together, but I think that’s just asking for trouble and frustration. So I left the lemon juice out…at first. Once I put it in my sauce pan and started heating it, I brought the mixture to about 130 degrees THEN I added the juice and whisked vigorously. Then, because I can’t just stand at my stove and mix for 10 minutes, I turned the heat up. I’m also extremely impatient and I just don’t have time for that. I didn’t boil the mixture but brought it to just under a boil which raised the temp to 175 degrees and it thickened. This took maybe 3 minutes. And I poured it into my tart.
As for the tart. I should have mentioned before. Make this first, before you even start the curd. I never had a tart pan until now and always used a pie dish…but now I have a tart pan. You don’t need one to make this, just use a pan of some type. Beans are a great way to weight the crust down too. Pie weights are a waste of money when you can just throw in a $1 bag of beans and then put them back in a bag and save them for next time. So, make sure your tart pastry is cooling before you start the curd, that way you can pour it in as soon as you take the curd off the heat.
Then you let it set and, if you are as impatient as me, you put it in the refrigerator.
Then you slice it. It is actually very easy to slice.
Pay no attention the whipped cream that I sprayed out of a can. It’s embarrassing. My husband bought it. I have real cream, but didn’t get around to making it before the end of nap time.
Now. If you want to make a fruit tart, you are good…up to here. Before you let it set, arrange your fruit on top of the lemon, do a lot of berries as berries go very well with lemon. And then you’re done!
I have to go eat all of this before my husband gets home. They are doing some ridiculous biggest loser competition at work and I’m trying to be helpful.