Today I have another thing I can cross of my Living in France to-do list: Make an award-winning lemon tart which will shock & amaze the French with the conviction that not only can Americans make pastries, but they also have a surprising talent with meringue.
Well, that was actually taken from my Fantasy Life in France to-do list which also has me living in Paris & sipping Champagne in feathery pumps by September, so I think I fared comparatively well today by making a Tarte au Citron Meringuée that was actually edible.
I've been wanting to make cette tarte since we were out & about (used car hunting) my second or third weekend in France & made a quick pit stop at a roadside boulangerie. I'm not sure how other people cope with moving to a foreign country, but I know what I prefer doing....eating...& lots of it. There's something very comforting about those first quiches, pain au chocolates, and of course, lemon tarts. You may not speak the language very well, completely understand the culture, or grasp how men can fit into those skinny jeans, but biting into a good French dessert makes you feel that you've somehow made the right choice. That's how I felt that day sinking into my first official lemon tart and I wondered if indeed all my problems could be solved by a steady stream of flaky pastries. And, I can plumply report, it's working out pretty well so far.
Thus my desire to throw my hat into the Tarte au Citron-making ring. This isn't a food blog by any means, so I can't promise pretty pictures or incredible preparation techniques (although I did make some impressive peaks during my meringue whipping), but I wanted to encourage everyone to try to make this dessert as it is quite simple and really, who doesn't love lemon? So, I recommend tossing Tarte au Citron into your French Idea Box if you're looking for a quick pick-me-up or just an easy way to get your guests saying ooh la la...
It's just about 3-4 lemons, their zest, & heating up some eggs & sugar (don't worry, a few real recipes follow).
I loved whipping the egg whites into meringue, but it's definitely an art-form as mine weren't nearly as pliable as the ones you see at French patisseries.
And voilà, the final product. I don't think it will win any awards, but my boyfriend ate it and although he's not totally unbiased, he is French; thus giving him a free pass to critique food at will. While I'm working out my meringue technique for the next tarte, I'll also be adding a new target to the (fantasy) French to-do list: awesomely thin crepes.
Tarte au Citron recipes:
(in French; good step-by-step photos)