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Archive for June, 2011

Use-as-a-bribe Lemon tart

The monsoons have hit Delhi.

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The rains come visiting at any time, with absolutely no regard for my plans, my clothes hung out to dry, or the day I decide to wear new shoes.

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Quite rude.

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Maybe a luscious lemon tart will facilitate better behaviour?

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This recipe comes from David Lebovitz. You can read all about his fabulous recipe here.

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The thing is I’ve made puff pastry dough and tart dough before, and I have to admit it’s one of the most tedious things I have ever done.  There is a lot of ice water, mixing, rolling, folding, freezing, and other such things involved. You need to make sure the dough is super cold at all times, and that is a tad difficult when you’re baking in June and in Delhi.

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So obviously I was super pleased when I discovered that I could make wonderful tart dough and not care if it was cold. Infact, in this recipe, the dough has to be hot. Hot enough to burn your finger (I would know).

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The fun thing is it’s so easy that a baby could make it. Except for the hot dough bit. We don’t want you to have to deal with crying babies who’ve just burnt their baby fingers.

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This French tart (to see the original recipe go here) is buttery, crumbly, and perfectly melt-in-your-mouth. The lemon curd filling is tarty and slightly sweet, and makes you stop thinking about your new, wet shoes drying against the wall.

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I have modified the recipe a little bit. I like my lemon tarts really lemony. If you like it more sweet and less tart, just reduce the lemon juice and increase the sugar by a few tablespoons.

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Hello rain. Would you like a slice?

Make this and bribe the rains. And wait, hoping they’ll have the decency make an appointment before their next visit.

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Tangy Lemon tart

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Inspired by: David Lebovitz’s Tarte au citron

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Serves: 6

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Ingredients:

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For the tart shell:

90 g salted butter

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp sugar

150 g flour

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For the lemon curd:

½ cup lemon juice (I used about 8 small lemons)

grated zest of one lemon

100 g sugar

85 g salted butter

2 eggs

2 egg yolks (freeze the whites for an omelette later!)

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Method:

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For the tart case

  1. Preheat the oven to 210º C.  In a medium, oven-proof bowl, mix the butter, oil, water and sugar.
  2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the liquids are bubbling slightly.
  3. Remove the bowl from the oven CAREFULLY (burnt finger alert!) and put the flour in immediately. Stir until it all comes together, and the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
  4. Put the dough in a 9-inch tart tin with a removable base, and spread it out so it cools a little. Once slightly cool, use your fingers to spread the dough all over the base and sides. Prick all over with a fork.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it is golden. Leave the tart case to cool before filling, or freeze to use later.

For the lemon curd filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat.
  3. Beat the eggs and yolks in a small bowl. Pour a few spoons of the warm lemon-butter mixture into the eggs gradually, while stirring. This has to be done to warm the egg mixture before pouring it into the lemon-butter mixture. If you skip this, you will have scrambled eggs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  4. Now pour the warmed egg mixture into the lemon mixture and cook over very low heat till it thickens. Keep stirring gently.
  5. Pour this warm mixture through a strainer into the cooled tart case. Press down with a spoon to push the mixture through the strainer properly.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly in the tart case. Don’t worry if you think the layer of filling is too thin. The creamy richness will come through in every mouthful.
  7. Pop the tart in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the filling is just set, but slightly wobbly. Let it cool before you stuff your face in it :) It tastes good when it’s been sitting in the fridge for a while as well.
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Cupcakes have personality.

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They are the #1 reason for goofy smiles.

They can end wars and start world peace.

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it to you.

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You fought with your best friend? Give him/her a cupcake.

Your boss wants to destroy your life? Cupcake.

Gloomy weather got you down? Cupcake.

You want someone to marry you? Cupcake.

Cupcake, cupcake, cupcake.

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You will thank me.

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There is just something special about these small, adorable treats.

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Can you see it?

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How about now?

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What I love about the cupcake is that it really is rather humble. I mean I know there are stuffed cupcakes (crazy!), layered cupcakes (genius!), and liquer cupcakes (I’m in heaven), but usually it all begins with a basic cupcake.

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Something like this?

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And then you get busy.

You scribble, sprinkle, squeeze, smile.

You dip, dry, decorate, dance.

You hold, heat, hide, hop.

You…get the drift.

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So you can make a “La-dee-daa” cupcake.

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Or an “Excuse me, while I turn away from your silliness” cupcake.

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Maybe a “I may look 25, but secretly I’m 5” cupcake.

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Or my current favourite – “I’m fancy so deal with it” cupcake.

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Explore your hidden personalities.

Be silly, smiley, sophisticated, angry, loopy, or crazy.

Make cupcakes that celebrate you. And share them with someone.

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Celebration cupcakes

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 12-15 mins

Makes: 6

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Ingredients:

65 g plain flour, sifted

65 g salted butter, melted and cooled

65 g finely ground sugar, sifted

1 large egg

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp vanilla essence

for decorations see below

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Method:

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a six-grooved cupcake tray with paper liners.
  2. Gently mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix until it comes together and becomes a pale yellow, shiny batter.
  3. Use a spoon to drop the batter into the 6 liners. Don’t worry if the tops are uneven. The heat in the oven will make them smooth.
  4. Put the tray into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Take the cupcakes out of the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the decorations

  1. For the pink and yellow cupcakes, I used regular butter-cream icing. For this, mix 4 tbsp melted and cooled butter with 30g icing sugar. Add a few drops of vanilla essence, and mix well. Add a little more sugar if the consistency isn’t thick enough to hold. Add a drop of your preferred food colour and mix again. Spoon this into an icing bag and pipe away. Add sprinkles or sugar flowers on top.
  2. The brown sugar cupcake is very easy to do, and so delicious. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a small pan. Add 2 tbsp granulated brown sugar and leave for a couple of minutes. When you see bubbles appearing around the edges, stir gently and remove from the heat. Carefully (it’s very hot!) spoon over your cupcake.
  3. For the colourful red and green cupcake, I used edible food colour pens a fabulous friend brought me from Germany. Find some and create scribbly cupcakes!

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