I've been doing a little baking.
The graduation party for my daughter Claire finally took place this past weekend.
I've spent the past month baking for the French pastry-themed event. Layers for the buttercream frosted cakes were made ahead and frozen, as were the French chocolate bouchons (on the left). There was also Framboise et Fromage de Chèvre des Sablés (shortbread with raspberries and goat cheese), French blueberry, rhubarb, and cherry clafoutis tarts, individual apricot galettes, a caramelized walnut and chocolate tart, small, individual fruit tarts filled with lemon curd and pastry cream, French cookies, Palmiers, and lemon, chocolate, and vanilla pound cakes with fresh berries and cream.
Individual Apricot Free-form Tarts (recipe here).
My niece, who is a French-trained pastry chef, flew in to help me finish up the desserts.
My friend Kathy (also the architect who designed my kitchen), was a huge help, making the lemon curd for the tarts (see recipe below), the palmiers, and the lemon poundcake.
The desserts were served outdoors on the patio.
Lemon Curd Tarts with Berries
Fine Cooking Magazine
For the Lemon Curd:
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 large egg yolks
• 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
2. In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon and will read 170˚ on a thermometer. Do not let it boil.
3. Remove the curd from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken as it cools. Covered tightly, the curd will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
For my favorite tart crust, click here.
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