Sunday, January 24, 2010
We are finally getting rain in the bay area. In fact it’s been raining everyday for over a week now and some places are getting too much. I don’t really enjoy rain especially when it rains so many days in a row, but considering the view of Napa valley after the rain, inconvenience is a cheap price to pay.
Rain feeds weeds on the ground, turning the whole valley into beautiful greens. In some areas, wild mustard plants are growing inside the vineyards, painting acres of field into bright yellows. When the clouds hold back, I drive through the fog in the morning to go to work and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It makes my commute enjoyable.
Since the rain started to let up a bit over the weekend, I took the opportunity to capture the beautiful scenery of Napa. I saw a couple of huge rainbows while I was driving, too. On the way back, I stopped at the famous Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. This place is always busy. The line goes out to the door on any given day, which means that I don’t need to go into detail telling you how good they are. I’ve had their breads, croissants and sandwiches before, so this time I chose a dessert, Tarte au Citron (a lemon tart). And not only did I enjoy eating it, I made my own after I got home.
Just in time for needing some good lemons, my friend gave me some home-grown Meyer lemons, which are perfect for making desserts. Thank you, N! I’ll save a bite, just for you. Due to lack of baking tools, mine aren’t an exact replica of Bouchon’s tart, but tasted pretty close. The recipe was actually fairly easy. If you can’t make it to Bouchon bakeries, you can still try making this at home.
Ingredients (makes 8 servings):
Butter and flour for the tart pan
1/3 recipe Pine Nut Crust
2 large eggs, cold
2 large egg yolks, cold
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and refrigerate it while the oven preheats.
Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Use your fingertips to press the chilled pine nut dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough.
Bake the crust for 10 to 15 minutes, then rotate it and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool while you make the filling. (There may be some cracks in the crust; they will not affect the finished tart.)
For the sabayon:
Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil in a pot that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the bowl you will be using for the sabayon. Meanwhile, in a large metal bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth.
Set the bowl over the pot and, using a large whisk, whip the mixture while you turn the bowl (for even heating). After about 2 minutes, when the eggs are foamy and have thickened, add one-third of the lemon juice. Continue to whisk vigorously and, when the mixture thickens again, add another one-third of the lemon juice. Whisk until the mixture thickens again, then add the remaining lemon juice. Continue whisking vigorously, still turning the bowl, until the mixture is thickened and light in color and the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the bowl. The total cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave the bowl over the water. Whisk in the butter a piece at a time. The sabayon may loosen slightly, but it will thicken and set as it cools. Pour the warm sabayon into the tart crust and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Preheat the broiler. While the sabayon is still warm, place the tart under the broiler. Leaving the door open, brown the top of the sabayon, rotating the tart if necessary for even color; this will take only a few seconds, so do not leave the oven. Remove the tart from the broiler and let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold.