Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate

February 25th, 2010

The more fruit trees and herbs we plant around the house the more I love being able to step outside and grab some ingredients. An orange, a lemon, an avocado, a plum, and as many herbs as we have pots for. It's exciting to use our own homegrown produce. It makes me happy and inspires me to think more about making dishes based on what’s growing around me than what’s available at the market. Both of our daughters are aspiring cooks, in fact as young teenagers they have far more skills than I did at their age. The most I could probably do at 13 or 15 was baked beans on toast (tasted good though). I love that they have an interest in cooking and I wanted to get them involved in some of the posts for the site. One of the trees we planted last year was a Meyer lemon, and it has been very generous with its fruit, so Po and I decided to make the Meyer Lemon Tart with a Layer of Chocolate from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. There are plenty of lemon tart recipes to be found but what makes this one special is the thin layer of chocolate between the crust and the filling.

Getting kids involved in cooking can be a lot of fun, particularly dessert recipes when there's plenty of opportunity for them to stick their fingers into mixtures and ingredients. And Po is not afraid to get her hands messy. Poking a finger here and there to taste as we go along, letting egg whites slip through her fingers so she can separate the yolk, and using the leftover pastry to make cookies.

The recipe is very well laid out and every step explained clearly, I've made this several times before and it's become part of my dessert repertoire. The first time I tried using Goin’s recipe for pâte sucrée I found that it came out too dry, crumbly and hard to work with (perhaps the eggs I used were not as big as the extra-large she suggests), so I reverted to the same pastry recipe from Julia Child. We went pretty extravagant with the chocolate, using a bar of Pierre Marcolini that my wife and I had picked up when we were in Belgium this last December. But I thought, “why not”, preparing food with my daughter is a special occasion and it deserves a little extravagance. The curd is easy but needs constant attention, stirring it until it's smooth and the consistency of pastry cream and then straining it onto the chocolate lined crust. Once it’s ready the tart looks beautiful and the curd has a lovely sheen to it. There were plenty of willing mouths that weekend since our other daughter P had several friends staying over. We served it with some vanilla flavored mascarpone cream. Thanks Po, I had fun and look forward to the next time.

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