Saturday 9 May 2015

What shall I do with all those eggs (part 2)?

The first cake didn't use up enough eggs, but the second cake used a whole box - half a dozen - of the surplus accumulating on our windowsill. This was a Chocolate Lemon Tart from Best Ever Baking by Carole Clements, now long out of print. The slightly odd quantities in the ingredient list give away the American origins of this book.

The finished tart, with chocolate curls

Tim obtained some vast lemons for the making of Pumpkin Preserve with Butter, and there were several left over for the filling. It may have been because of the size of the eggs, or the size of the lemons, or the use of a 23cm rather than a 25cm tin of what proved to be inadequate depth, but there was quite a lot of filling left over.

This was the first tart I've ever made where you mould the pastry into the tin by pressing it with your fingers instead of rolling it out. It handles rather like plasticine or Play-Doh™.  Next time I'll roll it out into a flying saucer shape before I start the moulding bit. In spite of the rather wonky crust, the result looked extremely sophisticated and French, and it really was very easy. And it tasted F.A.B.

240g (8¾ oz) caster sugar
6 eggs
grated rind of 2 lemons
170ml (5½ fl.oz) fresh lemon juice
170ml (5½ fl.oz) whipping cream
Chocolate curls (for decoration)

For the crust:
180g (6¼ oz) plain flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened 100% cocoa powder
30g (1 oz) icing sugar
½ teaspoon salt
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon water

  1. Grease a 25cm (10in) tart tin or flan tin
  2. For the crust, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt together into a bowl and stir once or twice to mix.
  3. Melt the butter with the water in a small pan over a low heat. Pour onto the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is smooth and the flour has drunk all the liquid.
  4. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Refrigerate the tart case while preparing the filling. You can keep the prepared shell in the fridge for several days, but if you are doing so, put it in a plastic bag  or wrap it in film so it doesn't dry out.
  5. Preheat a baking sheet in the oven at 190°C/ 375°F/gas mark 5.
  6. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon rind and juice and mix well. Add the cream. Taste the mixture and adjust the sugar/lemon balance if necessary. It should taste sharp but sweet.
  7. Pour the lemon mixture into the tart case and bake on the hot sheet (which will set the pastry before the filling starts to run through it) until the filling is set, about 20-25 minutes. Your fill level will depend on how steady your hands are. The filling will rise, because of all those eggs, but it won't overflow. Probably.
  8. When cool, decorate with chocolate curls.

As a special treat, I was allowed to get my hands on the carefully conserved block of the good stuff from the Chocolate Line in Bruges (as recommended by no lesser personages than the Hairy Bikers). I made the curls by "peeling" the block with a potato peeler. A slightly softer chocolate would have made better curls. You can see the block in the background to the first picture.

One last slice, anyone?


Jean said...

It looks delicious! Another must try recipe.
I have looked on Amazon and secondhand copies of the book are available very reasonably. I have quite a few cook books bought that way and usually they are in excellent condition, often appearing brand new and unread.
Because they cost so little it makes me feel less guilty about my vast collection of recipe books.

Tim said...

My copy came from Book Cellar at half price. There are second hand copies about - beware US editions! Most of the books you pick up with Google are called Best Ever Home Baking, same author. I've no idea whether or not it's the same book with a different title.