If you ask me I would say happiness is subjective. For instance if you ask my husband what happiness means to him he would probably say that he loves going for weekend treks and yes he does it every other weekend no matter where he is. If you ask the same question to my father he would probably say reading a good book, having a 5 course Bengali lunch which includes both fish and mutton and taking a nap and playing the violin.
Happiness in my experience does also keep changing over the years but some things remain constant. For me some time with some of my closest friends over some enjoyable food, some meaningful and meaningless talk and wine or coffee is a consistent source of happiness.
Blogging the way I see it is also an expression of happiness. It doesn't matter why I started blogging at all but within a month of having started a blog I was told I should focus on recipes instead of writing my heart out. That makes zero sense given that I blog because I like expressing myself.
I do also believe in passing off information. For instance when I get a tip for a particular dish and it works well for me I like putting that up on my blog because not only would it help me if I try the dish in the future I would be glad if someone else benefited from it.
I was supposed to meet my aunts and uncles on a warm balmy September afternoon. Of course on such occasions I always try and bake something, a cake, a pie or something else and this time I decided to bake a lemon tart, one which took me a while to master.
Then the plan got cancelled and I had butter , cream , lemon in the pantry which I didn't want to store so I called up one of the besties and when she said that she was free I got down to making the tart.
The first time I had tried this tart I was mighty disappointed. I had followed my favourite chef's recipe to the tee and it had failed miserably. I was heartbroken but then I realized it was the size of my pan which was the problem. In baking precision is of utmost importance. Period.
Sure enough you can throw ingredients in to make a wonderful tasting cake but for traditional bakes precision goes a long way.
Well after that what happened was that I bought a few extra tart pans , turned to my favourite culinary book which kind of solved most of the problems I was having but yet again I wasn't fully satisfied so finally I kind of took half of Raymond Blanc's recipe, half the recipe mentioned in the copy of Larousse Gastronomique that I own and that created something which was perfect for me. Just because its perfect for me doesnt mean that it would be perfect for you so I suggest you create the tart once and then play around a bit.
The tart had a crisp buttery shortcrust base and the filling was just about set and deliciously creamy.
Recipe adapted from Raymond Blanc and Larousse Gastronomique
Makes 8 servings :-
For the shell :-
225gm all purpose flour
110gm chilled cubed unsalted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 large egg
Fat pinch of salt
1 egg white to seal the base
(In case you are using salted butter omit the salt from the recipe)
For the filling :-
2 egg yolks
100ml lemon juice (you may reduce this to 85ml as given in Blanc's recipe )
Grated zest of two lemon
150gm caster sugar
130ml dairy cream
A 9 inch tart pan
Prepare your tart pan by greasing ti with butter.
Rub the butter in the flour till it becomes a breadcrumb like consistency. Whisk the egg with the sugar and add to the flour butter mixture and quickly knead to create a ball.
Most traditional recipes suggest that you chill the dough wrapped in a cling film and then roll it out after 2 hours. I have always tried that but then I came across a tip on one of the websites. It could be Joe's pastry but I am not sure where the writer suggest rolling out the dough and placing it on the tart shell and chilling it and this works very well for me.
So You roll it out and carefully line the tart pan and trim the edges and press the edge. Use the rolling pin to smoothen the edges and press with a fork so that the dough takes the shape of the pan and is crimped around the edge. Take a fork and create little lined holes all over the base.
Now chill the tart shell in the tar pan for 1 hour to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 160C and blind bake for 10 minutes and then take off the weight and bake for 20 minutes. Now brush the base with the egg white and bake for 2 minutes to 3 minutes.
Let the shell cool down completely. In the meantime melt the butter for the filling and leave aside and then go on to make the filling by whisking the eggs, egg yolks and sugar and slowly add the cream and finally add the butter , keep whisking and add the lemon juice and grated zest.
Now use a double boiler and cook the filling for just a few minutes till it just about begins to thicken. Here timing is everything and it takes a little bit of practice to take it off the heat just in time. Cooked a minute more and the filling curdles so be careful. Keep whisking over the double boiler . Take it off the heat and fill your cooled tart shell with the filling. Preheat oven to 120C for 10 minutes and bake for 25 minutes to 35 minutes.
Let it cool down completely and serve it. If you are living in a tropical country like I do once it cools down completely chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle a bit of caster sugar round the edges and serve.
This one was a hit with every guest whom I served that Sunday.
- When you brush the tart with the egg white when its almost baked and then bake it for a few minutes it creates a coat so that the filling doesn't seep through
- Just in case you see the filling curdling while you cook it over a double boiler take it off immediately.. Fill a large container with ice water and whisk over it.
- If overbaked the filling doesn't stay smooth and soft so for that timing is everything and this depends on the one baking the tart.