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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The extraordinarily delicious lemon tart I made at Leiths

The recipe for this is in the wonderfully comprehensive Leith's Cookery Bible, which, frankly, I find of invaluable assistance.  This recipe is adapted from the 2003 edition.

For the pate sucree (made the trad way)

170g plain flour
A pinch of salt
85g unsalted butter, softened
3 egg yolks
85g sugar
2 drops of vanilla essence (I would use extract here)

Sift the flour with the salt on to a board.  Make a large well in the centre and put the butter in it.  Place the egg yolks and sugar on the butter with the vanilla essence.

Using the fingertips of one hand, mix the butter, yolks and sugar together.  I learnt on the course that this is called pecking.  After that, chop in the flour.  When combined, frasier the pastry.  This involves shaving slivers off the ball of dough with a pallet knife, and then pressing all the slivers together to form your finished clump of pastry.

If the pastry seems too soft, wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge.  Then, roll it out to fit your tin, and chill again before baking.  I recommend blind baking (I nearly mispelled that as "bling baking", which is something completely different) this tart case for about 15 minutes.  You can remove the baking beans, or whatever you're using, for a bit to give the bottom a short flash of heat.  The crust should be lightly golden and smelling shortbready when you remove it from the oven.
For the complete tart

Pastry - in the quantity set out above
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
170g caster sugar
150ml double cream
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
Icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

Firstly, preheat the oven to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F/gas mark 5.

Make the filling by mixing the eggs and egg yolk with the sugar until smooth.  Pass through a sieve.  Stir in the cream and add the lemon zest and juice.  The mixture will thicken considerably, but fear not.  The filling is best made the day before and left in the fridge to mature.  Make sure you taste it again before cooking, and add more lemon if necessary.

Pour the filling into the pastry case.  Bake in the oven until it is almost set but still wobbles attractively when given a light shove.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Pappardelle, peas and beans: Part Deux

I know, I know; this is more than seven days after the previous post in which I swore that I would put up the recipe within the week.  Whatevs.  I've been busy, ok?  But busy with food-related diversions, so I hope that's alright with you all.  I am, this week, undertaking a week-long stint at Leiths (intermediate level), a lovely present from my family for a recent and significant birthday.  It's providing me with a welcome opportunity to learn about, cook, and eat meat; today's demonstration showed us how to flambe guinea fowl in whiskey, serve up liver with a ginger and pecan sauce, and de-bone and stuff a chicken.  It's fair to say that I have never done anything as technical as this, but I feel like it's a great addition to my culinary repertoire.

Anyways, more on Leiths later (and some photos if you're lucky).  Here's the peas and beans pasta recipe.

For 2 hungry people (are people ever anything else when it comes to mealtimes?)

200g of egg pappardelle - you can use fresh, but Mr. F supplied me with some dried (but egg rich) Italian stuff from his secret stash.  I think it's available in Waitrose, and will endeavour to find out the name as it was something really special.

100g of fresh peas, shelled
100g of broad beans, podded and removed from their tough outer skins
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
A glass of white wine (about 150ml)
200ml of light vegetable stock (i.e. weak Marigold Bouillon)
75g og grated cheese - half Pecorino and half Parmesan works well

Zest and juice of half a lemon
8 - 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
EV olive oil and butter
25g of pine nuts, toasted

The eggy pasta that we used only took two or so minutes to cook, but yours may vary so check.  In any event, start the operation by boiling the kettle.

In a medium-sized saucepan melt a small knob of butter with a glug of olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until both are soft and translucent but not brown.  Pour in about 150ml of the stock, the wine, and bring to the boil and simmer to reduce by about half to two thirds (and to ensure that the harsh alcohol taste is burned off).  This should take about 5 minutes.  When the sauce is reduced add 50g of the cheese, a little bit more butter, and the lemon juice and zest.  Stir to make sure that the cheese dissolves (you might feel the urge to go in with a whisk.  Feel free!).  Taste to check the seasoning.

Fill a pan with the hot water from the kettle, bring to the boil and season very generously with salt.  Add the pappardelle and bring to the boil.  Cook until al dente.

Add the peas and beans and half of the mint to the wine/cheese sauce.  If there's not enough sauce, add a little of the left over stock.  Cook the vegetables until tender.  Aim to have this stage co-incide with the pasta being done.  Drain the pasta and add it to the pan containing the vegetable and sauce.  Toss well.

Serve in warm bowls with the remaining cheese, pine nuts and mint scattered over.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Pappardelle, peas and beans

I'm going to post this picture so that I can be held to ransom if I fail to write up the recipe in the next week or so.  I am, unfortunately, having to do my "proper" job today, so have no time to wax lyrical about how particularly sweet yet savoury, filling yet oddly refreshing, rich yet light, this bowl of noodles was.


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