It is at this time of year when the days shorten and dusk creeps quietly into our lives. When we put away the warm whispers of summer. When we scuff through fallen leaves removing the silver dust of Paris. This is my favorite season in the city of light.
It is at this time of year I return to my little house in Paris to pack away the summer memories. To take down the linen curtains that dance at my windows and replace them with enveloping rich dark green velvet. To cover the stone pavers of my kitchen floor with a faded and warm carpet.
And it is this time of year, market basket under my arm, I raise very early and head for the markets. I am abroad even before the street cleaners. Searching for the last stoned fruit of the season to make just one last plum tart.
The Paris pastry shops beguile us with dazzling displays of fruit tarts. They are perfectly imperfect with simply arranged seasonal fresh fruits made even more irresistible with sugar-studded , heavily caramelized, crunchy rims. This is pie perfection! Honest pies that promise you everything and deliver. My alter ego happily shares her dreams of Paris and her recipes with you. Bon Appetit, dear friends. MRS BUTTERFINGERS
Ahem. The only excuse I have for omitting these steps in my recipe for FRENCH LEMON TART is familiarity. If you were beside me in the kitchen you would see me using a fork pricking the unbaked tart before I filled the shell RIGHT TO THE TOP with beans. It’s all about keeping your pastry from puffing up and robbing you of space you need for your lemon cream filling. It’s an automatic step for baking blind pastry. But how would you know that if this if the first time you have baked blind pastry?
Then there’s the step where you ease your precious pastry gently into the tart pan. You let the excess pastry hang over the edge and using the rolling pin trim off the edge. The next step is to gently ease a little of the dough above the edge to compensate for shrinkage. Here’s the trick to doing this. YOU DON’T USE YOUR FINGERS. You take a little of the left over dough and roll it into a small ball. THIS is what you use to nudge your precious pastry gently above the edge.
This is really not a difficult pastry to make . You do need a stand mixer. But it really is “a wink” to make. Remember practice makes perfect and all tarts don’t have to be filled with lemon cream. You could spread a little melted chocolate on the bottom of the tart and then fill it with vanilla custard and top it with fresh strawberries or any other fresh fruit in season. It will quickly become your “little black dress” of desserts. Baked or unbaked tart shells can be carefully wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for three days or frozen for three months. Bon Appetit dear friends.