Monday, 25 January 2016

Lemon Curd Tart

A very simple tart yet loaded with heaps of flavor. The sharp tartness of the lemons is contrast with the creaminess of the whipped topping. The topping, in fact, compliments the sharpness of the lemons. The bright yellowy-ness of the curd really does elevate my mood even in the bleakest of days. This dessert is wonderfully light yet lusciously creamy, flawlessly balanced with the freshness of the lemons – a perfect ending to a sumptuous meal in the summer or the most wonderful accompaniment to a cup of tea in the winter.

This is a cheat’s version of a lemon meringue pie. Tinkering with the original recipe, I have found a way to make it faster and easier. The base would be a simple biscuit base however; there is no cheating or any shortcut to making a good lemon curd. You could, of course, buy jars of lemon curd and use it instead of the fresh one. But do keep in mind; the taste is going to be altered.

I like my tart neither on the “too sweet” or “too sour” side. However, you are absolutely free to adjust the sugar or the lemon juice accordingly.

The tart tin should be 10 inches in diameter.

For the base:
200 grams digestives
100 grams melted butter

Chuck in the digestives in the food processor and whizz it. Add the melted and cooled butter into the mixture. Whizz it again to combine. Once combined, it should look malleable and somehow it does mimic “wet sand”.

Put the mixture into the tart tin and press on to the sides properly. The mixture should be spread and pressed well. Rest it in the fridge for it to set.

For the Lemon Curd:
1 cup castor sugar
150 grams butter (softened)
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp lemon zest
2/3rd cup lemon juice

Beat the butter, the sugar and salt until combined. Add the egg, the egg yolks and the zest and whisk until creamy. Mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water and pour it into the egg mixture. Now add the lemon juice. Do not panic if you see the mixture splitting. It is supposed to split, just be patient, it will all come together when it is heated in a pan.

Pour the mixture in a pan and gently heat it. Make sure it’s on the lowest heat, stir continuously. After stirring for about 10 minutes, you will notice that the mixture thickens and it should coat the back of a spoon. By this time, the mixture should look very smooth. There should be no lumps. In case, if you happen to find lumps in the mixture, do not panic. Just sieve the mixture and it should work out fine.

Cover the mixture with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using it in the tart.

For the topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2-3 tbsp icing sugar

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate at least an hour before using.

For the assembly:

Spoon the lemon curd into the tart base and spread it. Completely flatten the top so that it’s easy for the tart to hold the whipped cream in it. Put the whipped cream on it. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Lastly, I am a terrible photographer. The image does look a little lopsided but I promise the taste is not compromised..! ;-)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Coconut Tart

Starting with "A very Happy New Year to Everyone" - this is my first recipe in this year and I thought I should start with something the I absolutely love and adore. Since my childhood, the attraction to Coconut was immensely enormous. I loved coconut in any form – sweet or savory and as long as there was coconut, I was happy and serene. I could not conclude which form of coconut I loved more -the sweet or the savory. Irrespective of its form, fresh coconut itself has its own flavor and aroma. I simply loved chewing the fresh flesh of the coconut. The mellow sweetness and sugariness of the flesh could be used in curries to give it that extra edge and depth and also could be used to make it into gorgeously delectable desserts.

I believe this tart does justice to Coconut as it is not mixed or adulterated with anything else, thereby giving it the fresh sweet coconuty taste.

The inspiration for this came from eating at a Thai Restaurant that served custard that was made with coconut milk, eggs and palm sugar. However, I modified the recipe by adding gelatin to set it and made it into a tart form making the whole process a whole lot easier.

For the Tart::

1 can coconut cream (80ml)
4-5 tbsp palm sugar/regular jaggery
150grams sweetened coconut cookies
75grams butter (softened)
2-3 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp gelatin (heaped)
A loose base tart tin

Before proceeding to the tart, I would like to mention a few things about the tart. I used regular jaggery, the jaggery that is readily available in stores across in India. However, you can substitute it with palm sugar thereby deepening the flavor and the sweetness in the tart. Also, I added about 4-5 tablespoons of “liquid” jaggery – since jaggery comes with a lot of impurities, it is essential that it is liquefied by adding a little water, heating until the jaggery melts and straining it through cheesecloth. You can always choose to tinker with the sweetness a little by adding more jaggery or palm sugar to the tart.

I used a can of coconut cream as the cream has its own intense sweetness adding depths of flavor to the tart. However if you wish to make it a little lighter and less creamy in texture, I suggest using coconut milk. So that would be half a can of coconut milk and half of the coconut cream.
I don’t think this dessert needed any adornments and trimmings as I believe that presenting a slice simply would be enough to mesmerize the eater of this wonderfully gorgeous and mellowy golden dessert. If you wish to beautify it further, please toast some fresh coconut shavings and strew it across greedily! J

I know I am being terribly shameless ;) by using a can of coconut cream but you can always use fresh coconut milk and coconut cream for this recipe but using the can makes it a whole lot easy and less time consuming.

Blooming the Gelatin::

The most important step is to bloom the gelatin. Add the tablespoon of gelatin to ¼ cup of cold water and just keep it aside for few minutes. As soon as the gelatin is swollen and fat, add ¼ cup of hot water, stir vigorously until it is all melted in the heat of the boiling water and looks completely transparent. Set aside.

For the Base::

Use a food processor, throw in the biscuits and the softened butter. Whizz it until it resembles wet sand. Then put the mixture into the tart pan and press it with the back of a spoon coating every inch of the pan. Put the pan into the fridge so that the mixture hardens.

For the Cream Mixture::

Mix the palm sugar and the coconut cream until fully combined. The color should change from white-ish creamy to mellow gold/brown. Heat the mixture a little and add the liquid gelatin. Remove from heat and keep aside until it cools down a little.

Once it is of bearable temperature, fill the tart pan completely with this creamy mixture until the brink and put it back into the fridge. As the mixture cools down in the refrigerator, it will start to set.

Cut into pieces and serve cold :)