Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Shower & Lemon Tart



I survived my first baby shower! I thought I should print it on a tee-shirt and wear it! Our friends Stephanie and Phil threw us a shower last weekend, and it was just perfect. 

I was reluctant to have a baby shower at first when I found out I was pregnant - I felt bad someone was going to go out of their way for me to organize something. But then I realized how it can be a good way to gather everyone I love before the big day. 

There aren't any particular tradition in France when someone has a baby. Overall, French people don't buy gifts to the parents-to-be before the birth. Why? Superstition perhaps?  Everything is done after the birth. Now I did read an article recently in the French Parents Magazine, that the American craze of "baby showers" is slowly making its way to France. And apparently, baby shower is how we call it in French too. Here's the article (in French).

Stephanie and Phil had prepared fantastic little tea sandwiches. They were simply wonderful. Cucumber sandwiches (those were my favorites), egg sandwiches, mini steak sandwiches with chutney and havarti cheese, just to name a few. It makes me want to throw a baby shower for someone now, so I can have the excuse of making miniature food like that!

I couldn't resist to contribute to the food table and decided on making une tarte au citron - a lemon tart - which was a success. What you might find different in my recipe is the crust (I made a Pate Sablee) and the filling (I used cornstarch and very little butter). If my lemon tart had to have a synonym, it would be decadent


La Tarte Au Citron - Lemon Tart 
(serves 6 to 8)

Pate Sablee:

2 cups flour
1 pinch of salt
9 tbsp cold butter, roughly diced
1 egg, previously beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar + 3 tbsp
1/3 cup cornstarch
a pinch of salt
The zest of 2 lemons
The juice of 3 lemons
4 tbsp butter, cold

DOUGH - PATE SABLEE: 
On a flat surface, or in a big bowl, combine together the flour, the salt and the butter using the tip of your fingers to "break" the butter. Rub the tip of your fingers together, until the butter and the flour blend in together and the consistency is coarse (butter should be pea-size). Add the egg in the middle, along with the sugar and the vanilla. Mix everything together using your fingers, until the whole thing comes together. It will be very sticky at first but as you knead, the dough should start forming somewhat of a ball. Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand once or twice (that's called fraiser in French), and transfer everything onto a plastic wrap. Wrap and shape into a ball. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I prefer to make it one day ahead. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 45 minutes prior to rolling.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9.5" inch tart pan, with removable bottom.  Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough, making sure to keep moving the dough around; it will prevent it from sticking to the surface.The Pate Sablee dough is easily breakable, so be patient as you roll it out! Place the dough in the pan and cut off the excess. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork, cover the bottom with wax paper (or foil) and fill with pie weights, or dried beans (that's what I use). 

Bake for 25 mins, on the lower level of the oven. Remove the pie weights (or dried beans) and wax paper, move to upper level of oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The dough should be a nice golden color.

FILLING: 
Beat the yolks and the sugar together. Combine the lemon juice and the zests. Whisk in the cornstarch and the salt. Transfer to a saucepan and heat up, until it all thickens, about 10 minutes or so. Keep stirring the whole time, using a whisk. When the consistency starts thickening, remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter

Pour onto the baked shell. Allow to cool at room temperature. When cool, you may refrigerate it just a few hours before serving, along with fresh homemade whipped cream for example!

3 comments:

Jodi said...

Those sandwiches and the tart sound wonderful. I'll have to try this recipe!

Mary said...

You have so many good times and great memories ahead of you. Blessings to you and your husband and the wee one.

jessica said...

ah ha! so it was a good time after all. i'm so glad