Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lemon curd tart & Livestrong Day 2010

This is not the post I was going to write today.

I wanted to post about a tasty vegetable side dish I concocted a while back, something light and healthy that matched my mood of Sunday. But more about that in a later post.

Then I started my daily blog crawl and realized it was LiveSTRONG Day a couple of days ago. The LiveSTRONG foundation was founded by Lance Armstrong and supports patients and their families through their cancer experiences. Barbara, from Winosandfoodies, created one of the many events foodbloggers host to raise awareness and money. It is called A Taste of Yellow (yellow being the color of LiveSTRONG): the idea is to cook or bake something that is yellow with a heart theme and to photograph it.

I was very touched when I read about this and angry at myself for not knowing that LiveSTRONG Day was on October 2nd. I am such a new blogger I usually do not feel entitled yet to participate in all those big blogging community events out there. But this is different, if I had known I would have gladly participated. I lost a beloved family member to cancer many years ago. Two people I care about very much, a close family member and a very dear friend, have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 10 months. Cancer has become a recurrent thought in my life. These people and those close to them have been fighting with courage, strength and determination.

Then I read Barbara is postponing the deadline to submit recipes. And I realized that actually, without knowing, on the week end I had baked the first yellow thing I believe I have ever made in my life! This, surely, could not be a coincidence?

So forgive me if the recipe did not turn out as picture pretty as it should have. Forgive me if the photos are not great. Forgive me for adding a heart-themed picture when the cake was almost gone (thank goodness for leftovers). Because this is my way to send my support and thoughts to those I love and all the people out there fighting this battle.

Lemon curd tart (adapted from Diary of a Ladybird's Easy Lemon Tart )

Ingredients for Base:

165gr plain cookie crumbs (I used Digestives)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I did not have any)
100gr unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Lemon Curd:
3 lemons
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
125gr unsalted butter, chopped

Grease a 2cm deep, 24cm round tart tin with a removable base.

Mistake no. 1. I cannot seem to find one of these in Italy so I had to use another kind instead (it was approx. 6cm deep, with a removable ring) and it did not give pretty results.

Combine the cookie crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. I do not own a food processor, so we crumbled the cookies the old-fashioned way: I put the cookies into a freezer bag and my daughter and I took turns pounding them energetically with a rolling pin. She thoroughly enjoyed this part! Once the mixture has come together press it into the base and sides of the tin. Refrigerate for one hour.

In the meantime, start your lemon curd. Finely zest 1 lemon and juice all lemons. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Add the lemon zest and 2/3 cups of lemon juice, whisking constantly until well combined.

Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water using the so-called bain marie technique, without letting the base touch the water.

Mistake no. 2 Once again, make sure your bowl is heat proof. I was sure mine was until it cracked a few minutes into stirring and I had to dump everything and start all over again. Not only do I HATE wasting food, I also do not have an electric juicer. This is the second baking disaster in two weeks. Is someone trying to tell me something??

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thick. When it is ready it should have the consistency of custard. Never let the mixture boil, you do not want the eggs to curdle. Remove from stove and whisk in the butter. Then let the curd cool to room temperature before pouring into the chilled tart case.

Mistake no. 3  I think I let the curd cool too much, because it did not pour smoothly. If  you observe the picture below, there are ripples on the surface where I spooned it in. My advice is let it cool, but pour it before it solidifies too much. Ladybird's tart is so much more beautiful and silky smooth.

Cover it with seran wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

However, the cake was delicious: zesty, silky, not overly sweet. Just the way I like it. Also, I used up the lemon surplus I had in my fridge. And never have I been happier to make something yellow!


  1. I love your LiveStrong recipe! It's so important that we all took part in the event to raise awareness on the problem of cancer.

    By the way, I love all your recent posts :)


  2. Thanks so much for the shout-out :) I'm glad you got a chance to try out the recipe.

    So sorry to hear it was not an easy day in the kitchen though! It still looks delicious though, and I'm so glad you liked the taste of the curd (I could eat it all by itself!)

  3. hehe how serendipitous is that timing! I love lemon curd and could eat it by the spoonful! :)

  4. this is such a great cause and this recipe is a fantastic way to celebrate it!

  5. I'm a big fan of lemon curd tart. Yours looks wonderful. I'm glad you had left overs too.

    Thank you for sharing your heart for LiveSTRONG Day.

  6. First of all, thank you all for reading and leaving you comments. This is a special post to me and you all felt it and gave instant feedback.
    Jas - You and Jamie from 'Life's a Feast' were the first who made me realize it was LiveSTRONG Day and I am grateful for it.
    Ladybird - you inspired the recipe and I hope everybody reads down to the link to your own post because that is how this great tart should really look!
    Lorraine - oh that curd, don't even start me on it! Timing really was amazing! I seriously had never baked anything yellow before.
    Peggy - thank you for your words. I have been trying to subscribe to Foodbuzz to vote for you, will keep trying. Good job!
    Barbara - Thank you for creating this opportunity for all of us. You are an amazing person, so full of enthusiasm and positive energy. It has been an honor to meet you in the blogosphere...this is what makes me love what I am doing.

  7. I love lemon curd and this is just a wonderful post. I had a chuckle about using the heart shaped cutter on the leftovers. I'll have to keep that in mind when I need to take a photo. I hope your friends will be ok. Keep your chin up.

  8. Lynne - I will be totally honest with you: I didn't have a heart shaped cutter so I used my daughter's bubble blowing kit (that is why it is just curd and no base). ;o)


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