|photo by mara alderman|
speaking of potlucks. my friend caitlin moved back to canada last summer because her green card expired. cait was a founding member of our book club and is a very good friend. when i heard she was coming to napa last month to celebrate her birthday, i was thrilled. her birthday party was held in the ever-so-cool design studio of another good friend, richard. he decided the party would be potluck and let everyone pick whatever they wanted to bring. our meyer lemon harvest was huge this year and i know caitlin loves lemon desserts so the category was an easy decision. i assumed there would be some sort of birthday cake so pie or tart seemed like a good addition to the assortment. in the "perfect timing" department, i was paging through the april 2011 martha stewart living magazine and discovered the beautiful and yummy tart on page 127. potluck item solved!
dufour pastry kitchens and their product is delicious, 100% natural and full of real butter. homemade puff pastry is wonderful...but really, really, really time consuming. dufour is a time saving solution because the product is of such high quality. (as always, the ingredients really make the difference). their website states they will ship in 24 hours...but i buy mine at whole foods.
“Like Many Chefs I use Dufour, an all butter brand of Puff Pastry sold in specialty markets” – Wylie Dufresne – The New York Times
“We buy Pastry Shells from Dufour Pastry Kitchens – They’re phenomenal and we couldn't’t possibly be bothered to bake our own.” Serena Bass – Food & Wine
of course it was pouring rain the night of cait's party. my only concern was getting the tart there in one piece. so i forgot to take pictures. happily, cait sent me some she took with her iphone...so not perfect but you will get the idea. to see a beautiful photo, check out the one in the magazine martha stewart living or click here . (the photo in the magazine is stunning). make this tart now while meyer lemons are in season...you really must.
Martha Stewart Living, April 2011
Meyer Lemon Pastry
Makes one 11-by-14-inch tart; serves 9 .Add to Shopping List
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Meyer lemons, thinly sliced
1 package frozen puff pastry (14 oz), preferably Dufour, thawed
All-purpose flour, for surface
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use
1.Bring water and granulated sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
2.Cut out a circle of parchment the size of the saucepan. Add lemons, and cover with parchment. Simmer gently until lemons are soft and translucent, about 1 1/2 hours.
3.Remove lemons from syrup, and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet to drain. (MY NOTE...reserve the syrup)
4.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 11-by-14-inch rectangle. Lightly score a 1-inch border around edges using a sharp paring knife. Brush entire surface of dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
5.Bake pastry until golden, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.
6.Meanwhile, whisk heavy cream and vanilla seeds with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
7.Top pastry with lemon slices. Serve with vanilla cream.
Lemons can be refrigerated in syrup for up to 1 week.
(i served the tart with a bowl of whipped cream on the side. i also decided to not waste the lovely meyer lemon syrup reserved from the lemon slices. i cooked it down until it gelled and then served it in a bowl alongside the cream. i recommended people put a dollop of cream on each tart slice and then top with a bit of the lemon gelée...amazingly good)
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