TWD #7 The league of extraordinary… tarts?

April 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm 28 comments

Sean Connery (there is no other 007) can do no wrong… until The League of Extraordinary Men. T and I rarely agree on movies so I knew this movie was horrible when we both agreed that we didn’t care to finish it and flipped the DVD player off to find greener channel pastures in TV land. Maybe I put things on a higher standard when the word “extraordinary” is used in the title. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this extraordinary tart. Would it let me down like Sean Connery or live up to the hype?

Right away things weren’t looking too good. I was sleep deprived, kind of baked out from a cupcake order the day before, lacked a candy thermometer, tart pan and 3 lemons. I was ready to throw in the towel even before I began. But in the end I knew I couldn’t let down the other 100+ TWDers that take time out of their busy lives to make their tart. So I left the “I can’t do this” blues and arrived to the “make it work” Tim Gunn wisdom.

First order of business was figuring out how to get the cutesy fluted edge without the tart pan sitch. *light bulb* Cupcake liner!

What I learned this week:
Sometimes baking requires a gut feeling esp when you don’t have all the modern day gadgets (ie candy thermometer, tart pan) that take the guesswork out of baking. But I think its good to keep me on my toes…

Hosted by Mary @ Starting From Scratch
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The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
(Recipe from DGs’ Baking: From my home to yours pages 331-332 | photos from me!)

Isn’t my little tartlette slice so cute? It fit in the palm of my hand!

Makes about 12 cupcake-size tarts


1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 lemons (I used 2 lemons)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons) (I used 2 lemons’ juice+bottled lemon juice to make up the rest.)
2 sticks plus 5 Tbsp butter (10-1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces, at room temperature.
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough


Have a instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (1st choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

Put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy, and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture fees tepid to the touch. Cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk- you whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling- you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 180F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point- the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience- depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp may take as long as 10 minutes.

[NOTES: Many TWDers had problems getting it up to 180F. Since I don’t have a candy thermometer, I relied on Dorie’s description of how the cream should progress. Took me about 15 minutes. I think using a metal bowl helped too.]

As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the lender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

[NOTES: I almost skipped the straining step but I am so glad I didn’t. Its worth it for the smooth cream texture. Trust me. Take the time to strain.]

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going- to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to bend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests, and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (the cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, in the freezer for up to 2 months; thaw it overnight in the refrigerator)

[NOTES: I had a good amount of lemon cream leftover so next time I make this I might 1/2 the lemon cream recipe.]

When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.


Husband rating: A
He likes lemon but wasn’t expecting this one to be as tart as it was. He still ate 2 of them! :)

Wifey rating: A/A+
ditto hubs. But after the 2nd bite I was hooked. The cream is so silky smooth and the crust is buttery goodness.

Next week: Homemade Marshmallows pages 404-405

Sweet Tart Dough


1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 T) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk


Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in- you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal fakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses- about 10 seconds each- until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change- heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate and dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

[NOTES: I just realized that I was suppose to use 1 yolk but I used the whole egg. oops!]

To press the dough into the pan: butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy handed- press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferable longer, before baking.

[NOTES: I don’t have a tart pan so I used foil cupcake liners.]

To partially or fully bake the crust: center a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, against the crust. (since you froze it, you can bake it without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, carefully press it down with the back of a spoon.

For partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack. To fully bake the crust, bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.


Entry filed under: dessert, Tuesdays With Dorie. Tags: .

Day 8 Asian Noodle Salad

28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rebecca  |  April 8, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Oh, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” … Even Sean Connery couldn’t save that pile.

    I love your tarts in the cupcake liners! So smart. I’m totally going to steal that trick. ;)

  • 2. CB  |  April 8, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    REBECCA, ah gentlemen. obviously if I can’t get the title correct it wasn’t worth remembering right? LOL.

  • 3. Kristina  |  April 8, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    The tarts look cute and delicious! But, I have to say, Daniel Craig gave Sean Connery a run for his money as 007

  • 4. CB  |  April 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    KRISTINA, oh honey… poor diluted thing. I must disagree. Maybe I’ll give you Pierce but not Daniel. ;)

  • 5. Dolores  |  April 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Cupcake liners! Brilliant!

    And Connery is my hero. As 007 As Professor Henry Jones. As Captain Marko Ramius. Even as King Arthur and Sir August deWynter. But not so much as Alan Quatermine… Great actors just shouldn’t make bad movies.

  • 6. Caitlin  |  April 8, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Haha – I love the resourcefulness of the cupcake liners! And they look adorable and tasty!

  • 7. dizzeecake  |  April 9, 2008 at 12:12 am

    OOoo minis!!! Such a great idea! Gotta try it myself ;)

  • 8. April  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Oh wow! I love the cupcake tarts!!

  • 9. mari  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Amazing job getting your pastry to work in cupcake liners! Wowsa! Don’t you love how resourceful we can be when forced? ;-)

  • 10. Di  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Great idea to use the foil liners. I made my tarts in my mini muffin pan, so I ended up with straight sides. I’m going to have to look for mini foil liners for next time!

  • 11. NinaBeth  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:50 am

    So stinkin’ cute CB! I love the picture where you have the little slice cut out. So adorable. All these lemon tarts are making me crave a lemon tart. I want to make it, but J doesn’t like lemon so I’d have to eat it all by myself… Great job!

  • 12. bridget  |  April 9, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Wow those are really cute! Way to make the best of a potentially frustrating situation!

  • 13. LyB  |  April 9, 2008 at 5:26 am

    Your tartlets are so cute, great idea! I love the presentation with the mini portion and the lemon slice underneath!

  • 14. Judy  |  April 9, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Very clever solution! Your tarts are really cute!

  • 15. Anne  |  April 9, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Those look great! I love the mini idea too, especially since such a rich dessert is easier to handle in small portions (and you can always just eat two!)

    <3 Sean Connery too… but I liked Pierce as 007 too. I have to say though, while the latest was good, I’m still having a hard time with the blond!

  • 16. carrie  |  April 9, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Absolutely Freaking Brilliant idea to use the cupcake liners!
    They look deeeelish! :-)

  • 17. CB  |  April 9, 2008 at 8:51 am

    DOLORES, i guess even the good ones have flubs. Too bad the flubs are what ppl remember most. Sean Connery is so fabu. I just try to block out the extraordinary movie from his list of greats.

    ANNE, Pierce is definitely a close 2nd for me. Not feeling Craig at all.

  • 18. slush  |  April 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

    O M G could they be any cuter!! You totally get the adorable award of the week Clara! Fab job babe!

  • 19. Melissa  |  April 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I did mine sans thermometer too. Seems to have worked better for those that did it without!

  • 20. Heather  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    What a great idea using muffin cups! I’ll have to try that next time! Great job!

  • 21. Jenny  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    very nice looking tarts!

  • 22. Erin  |  April 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I love the way yours turned out- the mini tarts are a great idea!

  • 23. Gretchen Noelle  |  April 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I love the idea of the cupcake size. You and the things you do with your liners. Great job!

  • 24. beeb  |  April 9, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    The tartlettes are adorable and I really dig the layout of your post – pictorial commentary embedded in the recipe – great ideas.

  • 25. Erin T  |  April 10, 2008 at 4:44 am

    I love the little tarts. They produce the perfect portion size. They would be so cute for a bruch or spring bridal/baby shower. I will have to remember this. Great work!

  • 26. jhianna  |  April 10, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Great idea to use the cupcake liners! (Yeah, that was just a really not-good movie, wasn’t it?)

  • 27. Ashley  |  April 15, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I love your little tart! You’re amazing for persevering and making the tart when you didn’t feel like it. I should take inspiration from that!

  • 28. OSI: Clara from I*heart*Food4Thought « Tuesdays with Dorie  |  October 28, 2008 at 6:37 am

    […] What has been your favorite TWD recipe so far? I have a few favorites: Lemon cream tart, galette and creme brulee but I’d have to say that the creme brulee wins as the favorite, a […]


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