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December 17, 2005

Curds Gone Wild!

What happens when a group of smooth-skinned, fresh off the farm Meyer lemons, having just blossomed into maturity, leave home for the first time?  It's rich, it's creamy, it's...  Curds Gone Wild!

Dsc00125_1 And we've got the delicious photos.

That's right, with a little manipulation we got these lemons to come out of their shells and expose themselves for the little tarts they are.  (That's enough! ed.)

Actually, there's no curd here, just lemon sabayon and pine nut crust.  The recipes come from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook, which I recently broke down and bought after checking it out of the library many, many times.  Though inconveniently large (I don't actually have a bookshelf big enough to hold it), the book is a valuable resource for the experienced home cook looking to expand their technique and repertoire.

This tart is the first recipe I've tried from the book, and it is wonderful.  I've never been a big fan of making lemon meringue pie, which presents any home cook too many opportunities to screw the whole thing up: pie crust-, curd-, and meringue-making all come with numerous pitfalls.

Tart dough and sabayon are, in comparison, a snap.  In this recipe, the tart is blind baked, so it always comes out lightly browned and perfectly cooked.  Sabayon takes nothing more than a strong wrist and a little bit of patience.

The ultimate test of any recipe is, simply, does it taste good?  The answer here is an emphatic yes.Dsc00124_2  The crust is buttery and rich, but still has a little crunch; the sabayon is creamy and tart, but not puckeringly so, and there's none of the egginess that sometimes occurs with lemon curd.

I would offer only two small criticisms of the recipe: First, be sure to dock the crust before baking it; second, it seems such a shame not use at least some of the zest from the juiced lemons; so I usually add it while making the sabayon.


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I can't believe he dissed lemon meringue! To be honest, even Wanda's Pie in the Sky ( has made less than perfect lemon meringue, so it does happen to the best.

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