Saturday, April 7, 2007

Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream

It's been an incredibly busy week here in FrenchLaundryAtHome land, sadly not in the kitchen. Work has taken over and while I'm grateful for the client work, I miss the time cooking. Chopping, cooking, whisking... that's the stuff that relaxes me and alleviates stress. I've been eating takeout all week as I've been going from meeting to meeting to meeting, so I was more than happy to have this to work on today. And, I was even more happy to be able to share it with my friends because it forced me to get away from the computer and the phone, and slow down for an hour or two.

And, before we get started, let me give a shout-out to the excellent staff at Cook's Library in LA, where I did some shopping while I was on the west coast for a few days this week. This is a bookstore I had been meaning to get to for ages and finally made a stop today enroute to dinner with friends at Orso (where, hello, we had a Keanu Reeves sighting). I don't know how else to describe Cook's Library other than to say this: 8,000 books. New and used. And, all about food. And I bought seven of them. So, now they're down to 7,993 books about food. But seriously, if you're in LA and you have an hour to spare, this is a shop you can't miss. The staff is wonderful (and wonderfully funny and snarky), and the selection is delicious. Someday, when I have an entire afternoon to spend there, I will do some serious damage. I did happen to buy the Jill St. John cookbook, which is not exactly the foodie compendium, but I'm sure I'll get some great hairstyling tips from it. You may think I'm joking, but I really did buy this book. It is so awesome in so many ways.

But enough about me. After the April Fool's posting, I know you must be hankerin' for a post about some real food from the French Laundry Cookbook. Let's talk about Keller's Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream and let's start with the pine nut crust. Here's the mise en place:

I pulsed the pine nuts in the food processor, then added the sugar and flour and continued to pulse until the pine nuts were finely ground:

Next, I poured the flour/pine nut mixture into my mixer and added the butter, egg and vanilla extract:

I know I say this in almost every post, but I beg you... someone... anyone... please invent Smell-o-Vision for the Internet. Pine nuts and vanilla? Sweet fancy moses....

When the crust was mixed, I separated the dough into three equal parts, wrapped it in plastic wrap, froze two of them and kept one in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the rest of the tart:

The next step was to butter and flour the tart pan and put it in the fridge to chill while I pre-heated the oven and made the Honeyed Mascarpone Cream. Here's the mise en place for the Cream:

I whisked the cream in a bowl resting in a bowl of ice until it was frothy (about two minutes), then added the mascarpone cheese and honey and whisked it for another few minutes until it was thick and creamy.

The oven was pre-heated and the pine nut crust was chilled. Time to make the crust. I pressed the dough into the tart pan and put it in a 350-degree oven for ten minutes, rotated the pan, then baked it another 10-15 minutes until it was golden brown:

While the crust was cooling, I put together the mise en place for the Lemon Sabayon:

The first step was to bring a little bit of water up to a boil in a saucepan. While the water was heating, I whisked the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a glass mixing bowl. The cookbook said to use a metal mixing bowl, but mine were in the attic, so I used the glass one instead.

After creaming the sugar and eggs, I waited until the water was boiling, then put the bowl on top of the sauce pan and whisked it over the heat for about three minutes. Then, I added a third of the lemon juice, whisked until the mixtured had thickened and repeated that process until all the lemon juice had all been mixed in.

I then turned off the flame, but kept the bowl over the hot water. Next, I added the butter, one pat at a time, whisking until the butter was melted. Then, I poured the Sabayon into the crust:

The final step is to fire up the broiler and put the tart under the broiler and, keeping the oven door open, rotate the tart to brown the top evenly. The cookbook indicated the browning process would start in "a few seconds." It took about 45 seconds for it to start, but it was quick, and I think I achieved a nice, well-rounded browning:

Here's the final plating of the tart with the honeyed mascarpone cream on top. We ate it at my neighbor Holly's house so that we could sit outside and enjoy the sunny afternoon on her deck while the kids played and the dogs romped.

The honey, cream and lemon play well together, and the texture of the Sabayon was light and delicious. The pine nut crust was crunchy, toasty and delicious, too. I would definitely make this again. In fact, because I had a few leftover lemons, I made another one the next day and gave it to my neighbor. It's a great dessert, and can be made a few hours ahead of time if you need to. It's best served at room temperature about an hour or two after browning it under the broiler, but it's not bad chilled, either. This tart really is easy to do -- so easy, in fact, that I didn't even need to read the recipe the second time around. The ingredients are simple and the preparation is really easy. I'd like to do a key lime version of this sometime, too. That would be fab.

Up Next: "Bacon and Eggs," Soft Poached Quail Eggs with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Brands Used:
All-Clad cookware
KitchenAid mixer
Cuisinart food processor
Domino sugar
365 butter
Lemons and pine nuts from Whole Foods
Eggs from Jehova-Jireh Farm
Organic Valley cream
Vermont Butter mascarpone cheese
Gunter's honey
Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
King Arthur flour

Music to Cook By: Mika, Life in Cartoon Motion. I know I'm probably late in jumping on the Mika bandwagon, but I just love this kid. A little Robbie Williams, a little I don't know what. Jake Shears, maybe? Anyhoo, it's a great album and will be a great addition to my playlist for the treadmill. If you haven't heard Mika yet, I encourage you to have a listen. I think you'll like him. If not, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU??!!!??!? (kidding... love you, mean it.)


spooneroonie said...

DG--looks delicious! As always, great job! I'm glad you had a great trip!

I have to ask: did you get INto a snarkfest with the store staff re: Aunt Snads? Lord, I'd love to hear what they had to say. If the Jill St. John book is any indication. Look, she has bunnies on her tablescape. I wonder if she has a Bunny Cake lurking off camera?

Diner Girl said...

Thanks, Spoonie. And yes, I did get into a wee bit of a snarkfest re: Aunt Sandy. I wrote about it over at TWoP.

Dawn said...

Yum. This one looks like something *I* could actually make, too. I'll have to visit that cookbook store someday as well.

And I was SO happy to see you mentioned the Mika album. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Have you jumped on The Fratelli's bandwagon yet? Another great album by which to cook.

Leslie said...

OK, I'm a knitting blogger, but that pine nut-lemon thing, Oh my God, I'm about faint from thinking about it.

Diner Girl said...

Dawn: I downloaded some Fratellis after you mentioned it and I love them!

Leslie: It's easy to make, I swear. Easier than knitting (at least for me). :)

emily said...

I ate this, or a similar version at Bouchon in Vegas a few years ago and it was awesome. The lemon curd was so tart and creamy, I just wanted to live in it. The pine nut crust was a bit of a disappointment for me, for unknown reasons. I scraped out the curd and left most of the crust behind.

mike said...

I had not realized this until you posted this in your menu suggestions, but the lemon tart in Bouchon doesn't include the cream topping. I'll have to give it a shot. I've been meaning to compare some of the other recipes as well, like the stocks. I wonder if they're any different as well?