Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lemon Sabayon Tart

One of the great thing about the current menu is that there are two entire dishes I can 90+% prepare ahead of time. Dessert I could really really prep ahead of time, so I decided to make it tonight, two nights before dinner.

The whole recipe wasn't too hard or time consuming, which was great since I was wiped out from a serious workday. I think I spent maybe an hour and a half making the tart, but it would have taken half the time if I had just paid attention to the directions.

For the pine nut crust, I just measured out my pine nuts, then tossed them in the food processor with… oh, damn, softened butter. I had not taken my butter out ahead of time, so I spent about 20 minutes rotating it on my stove to heat it up enough to soften but not melt. After 20 minutes, I decided a little low power nuking was in order, so to the microwave I went (which did the trick). 20 minutes wasted from not reading directions.

Continuing on, I quickly tossed all of the crust ingredients in the food processor, blended, wrapped it in plastic in thirds, and tossed it in the fridge.

In the meantime, I juiced my lemons, separated eggs, and read the directions again so I didn't screw it up. I grabbed the appropriate measuring cups… damn! Mistake #2: I realized that I had accidentally used the ¼ cup instead of the 1/3 of cup required for the crust. So I grabbed the dough, mixed in some more sugar, then put it back in the fridge to chill again. The directions said to put a mixing bowl over hot water for the sabayon – but I have an actual double boiler, which is much easier to use without accidentally burning your hands (voice of experience), so I decided to just use that. It worked fine.

After I mixed the tart ingredients, I started whisking in the lemon juice. By about 4 minutes of whisking – not even halfway through – I felt like my arms were going to fall off. So I called in reinforcement and made Brandon whisk while I attended to the tart shell.

After pouring in the sabayon, I broiled the tart to brown on top. It did not brown nearly instantly like the directions said. Instead, it sat for two minutes and was barely browning. I realized that maybe this was because I had it too far down from the broiler… then almost lost the whole tart trying to move the rack. Guess I'm not slick enough to be able to handle that. After moving it (successfully… just barely), it did brown really quickly – like 30-40 seconds. And look at how pretty it is, even with all of the things I tried to screw up!

I must admit I feel a black cloud forming over me… if I can screw up something this easy – and trust me, it was easy – then how on earth am I going to saw a pig's head in half?

Resources: Henry's for Pine Nuts. Literally half the price of grocery store pine nuts. I also saw them in The People's Co-Op in OB a couple of days later for $25 or so a pound, which was the cheapest i've seen pine nuts in years!

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