Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Tartest Lemon Tart

The same winter that I started this blog, I read and was strongly influenced by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon's Plenty, their book on a year of a 100-mile diet in Vancouver. The book heightened my interest in local sources, and re-awakened an obsession with foraging. It did not, however, ultimately turn me into a self-sufficient locavore. I get better and better, but I have not made that leap, and am not sure I want to. What I want to do is live like a locavore, that is, considering the food miles and growing costs of my food, supporting the local farming economy, and making, growing or finding what I can myself. During my brief flirtation with total locavorism, I spent some time contemplating what I would miss the most, or what I would have as my 'exemption' if I didn't choose to go full-tilt.

I would miss tropical fruit. I would miss olive oil and spices. I would miss chocolate and coffee. But one of the things I would have the hardest time cooking without would be lemons. I would really really miss lemons.

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was an excellent reminder of just how wonderful a lemon can be. Tartest Lemon Tart, selected by Babette of Babette Feasts, is a kind of lemon jelly tart using whole lemons; skin, pith, pulp, juice and all. The lemons are blended in the food processor with sugar, butter, salt, and cream (I used buttermilk), and then poured into a par-baked sweet nutty tart shell and baked until firm. Strong resemblance to lemon bars. Some of the TWD bakers complained that theirs were too tart, mine fell on the other side, and even with reduced sugar was barely tart enough. It was also very pretty.

Here it is featured at Mothers' Day breakfast.
Matt and I invited his parents over for a Mothers' Day extravaganza, encompassing Matt's shrimp/asparagus/gruyere toasts on garlic-rubbed whole wheat, easing into sweeter territory with Orangette's buckwheat pancakes, syrup, grapes and strawberries, and then finishing with tiny wedges of lemon tart, because, like Everest, it was there. A group cross-country skype, in which we were informed by Matt's nephew that light sabres are manufactured exclusively in Seattle (of course), rounded out the morning.

It was an impressive day of cooking and eating, and a triumphant return to the entertaining scene from two people who have been largely too harried and busy to invite anyone over. I hope to start rooftop barbeques on a very regular basis soon, and since we always have a willing griller and 'extra' baked goods, I think you'll all fare very well. You're coming over soon, right?


Kara said...

OH pretty. I found that mine was a little sweet, but overall quite yummy.

I'm with you on the locavore thing. I do work really hard to eat locally and be mindful of what I eat and where it comes from, but there are things that I'm just not willing to give up.

Anonymous said...

It would be so much easier to be a locavore if everything could just be...local. I find myself in the same dilemma! Your tart looks wonderful!

Jules Someone said...

Delicious looking tart. Nice breakfast overall.

TeaLady said...

Mine was really tart and not bitter, even with the pith. Yours looks very tasty.