Thursday, January 7, 2016

Midweek Roundup: "Two Mouth-Puckering Ingredients in a Tart"

Photo by Nancy
Bread & Cakes & More

How tart is too tart?  That was the question on the bakers' minds this week, as they baked Roses's Lemon Cranberry Tart Tart--a name that drove her editors up the wall, as they kept trying to delete one of the "tarts," and Rose insisting that "tart tart" was not a typo.

Nancy made this dessert for her Christmas dinner, along with the Cranberry-Pecan Christmas Bread, for a 2-Rose dinner.  Because it was a small group, she halved the recipe, and took a few other liberties with the recipe as well.  With the recipe already so small, she didn't want to make an even smaller amount of cranberry filling, so she improvised, using leftover cranberry relish from Thanksgiving.  She also lightened the lemon curd, using more egg whites than yolks, and firming the curd with the optional gelatin.  (You can see from the photo that the lemon curd is not as brilliantly yellow as normal, but it's nice to know about this version of lemon curd).

No short cuts on the lemon curd for Rachel:  "I made the lemon curd and it was good."  Sounds like a biblical pronouncement, doesn't it?  Rachel spelled out one of the delights of "the alchemy of baking"--in this case, the transformation of an "unlikely-looking mix" of ingredients into a "smooth and lemony concoction."  Rachel also noted how "festive" this dessert was, even though it was completely unlike the equally festive looking White Christmas cake.  There are all sorts of ways to get to Festive.

Catherine also commented on how beautiful this tart is--the photo "is one of the prettiest in the book," she said--so pretty that it almost daunted a baker with "cack-handed decoration skills."  (Another new word!)  But Catherine's lovely mini-tarts do not look like they've been in the vicinity of a cack-handed baker.  Even though she didn't have quite enough lemon curd or enough cranberries to make a full recipe, she cleverly made small tarts that were pretty enough to be a cover photo.

Katya, baking in her parents' kitchen, was missing a few essentials (scale and strainer) and had to improvise.  Still, even losing a little lemon curd while using a coffee filter as a strainer, she ended up with something more than presentible.  Her parents were very supportive.  From Mom:  "Tres tasty.  Melts in your mouth.  Very festive."  From Dad:  "You've outdone yourself."  And there's that word "festive" again.  I suppose no one made this tart for Festivus.

Aimee describes this tart as "super tart, lemony, and creamy."  Sounds good, right?  But note that "super tart."  That, I'm afraid, is not a compliment.  First, Aimee doesn't like cranberries (which her roommate dubs "bogberries," and even though she substituted blueberries, I think the aura of cranberries still contaminated this tart.  Second, she overcooked the tart and the curd took forever to make and the blueberries just "blopped" on top of the curd.  (Another new word!)  Perhaps this tart was just not meant to be.  On the plus side, and it was a big plus, Aimee thought the almond crust was amazingly delicious and would happily have gobbled it all up, without bothering with either lemon or bogberries.

Jen put her finger right on the button.  "This is a very delicious tart, but it is a bit tart.  I like that!  You need to love lemon curd to enjoy this pie.  And tart things."  And because that said it all, that says it all.  Anyway, Jen was watching Downton Abbey (last season!), so she said her comments would be brief.

"This saucy little tart" exhausted Vicki.  She thought it was going to be easy--it's just "an almond butter crust shell filled with lemon curd and cranberry sauce,"  So how could it take all day?  Rose's recipes are sometimes deceptive like that--you think it's as easy as 1,2,3, but then you realize that 1, 2, and 3 each take 3 hours.  (To be fair, sometimes they're deceptive the other way--they look terribly complicated, but when you break down the steps, they're not hard at all).  Vicki was too tired to write much, but she did note that these would make fabulous mini-tarts, with the ratio of sweet almond pastry to tart fruits being a little higher that way.

After a few big and complicated things, I think you'll be happy to see an entry from the Quick and Easy list next week.  And not only is it quick and easy--it's plain old chocolate chip cookies.  Now what will Rose do to up the flavor ante with this cookie?  Tune in next week and see.


  1. Love Nancy's picture! Fun write up Marie. I'm glad we made this tart tart. It has all sorts of possibilities for us lemon curd lovers.

  2. Love all the pretty words describing the tart tart!
    Am behind as usual but hope to do it Sunday!

  3. Your tart sliced very nicely Nancy - use of the gelatine was a good move. Nice round up Marie, I'm certainly looking forward to the cookies.

  4. Great write up, as usual. Nancy's tart looks so appealing on that kitchen towel. I haven't looked at any body's posts but hopefully this weekend i can...unless the next episode of Downton interferes :D