Lemon and lime curd tart with Italian meringue Chantilly

Nothing screams summer like a good citrus tart, and this is a great one. Now it takes a little time, and a little patience to get this one right, but it’s worth the effort. The tart shell and the lemon and lime filling are the easy parts. Just remember slow and steady when you are thickening the curd, too much heat and you will have citrus scramble eggs. And never stop stirring.

The Italian meringue can be tricky. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer (I don’t, and still manage) there is a way to tell when the sugar is at the right consistency.  First wait until the sugar has dissolved, you can stir up until this point, but after this no stirring allowed.  Then, on a medium high heat boil the sugar for about 10 minutes, you will notices the bubbles on the top of the mixture starting to get bigger, and hold their shape better (as if they are slowing down), at this point the sugar is ready to combine with the partially whipped egg whites. Try not to get the sugar syrup on the whisk, as it will solidify, and  you will end up with a grainy texture. Now the rest is in your hands. Enjoy 🙂

Filling

2 large lemons

2 limes

115 g butter, at room temperature

340 g sugar

4 large eggs

¼ tsp salt

Pastry

145 g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing, at room temperature

110 g sugar

245 g plain flour

1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence

Pinch salt

For the Italian Chantilly

150 g sugar

60 ml water

60 g egg whites (2 eggs)

½ sheet gelatin

150 ml chilled whipped cream

Method

For the tart shell

Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together.

Shape the dough into a flat disk. Press pastry into a 25cm round pie tin, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill in the freezer until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C.Place a piece of parchment paper over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or rice.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, prick the tart all over with a fork, and brush with egg yolk. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the filling

Remove the zest of the lemons and limes with a zester, being careful to avoid the white pith. Squeeze the fruits to make 125ml of juice and set the juice aside.

Add the sugar to the zest and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest is very finely minced.

In a bowl, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add the lemon and lime juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd will thicken at about 68°C or just below a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Fill the tart shell with the warm lemon curd and allow to set at room temperature.

For the Italian meringue Chantilly

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and place on a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring the temperature up to a boil.

In the meantime, whip up the egg whites until they are almost able to hold their shape. Place the gelatin in some cold water to soften.

Once the sugar has reached 116 C, remove from the heat, and slowly pour into the egg whites, whisking all the time. Once you have added all the sugar syrup, squeeze out the excess water from the gelatin and put it into the egg white mixture. Whisk constantly for about 7 minutes, or until the bottom of the mixing bowl is no longer hot.

Fold the meringue into the whipped cream and immediately place on top of the lemon tart. Chill for two hours before serving.

Caramel banana upside-down cake

Ultimate rewards for as little work as possible-This is how I like my desserts. This cake reminds me of my first bite of “Bananas Foster” in New Orleans. A rich, dark caramel sauce flavored with rum, poured over fresh bananas and served with ice-cream, cant be bad.

This cake is made in no time, and the hardest part is getting the caramel right, after that its all easy-going.  Use a heavy based pan to caramelize the brown sugar, the heavy pan helps retain the heat, and gives you more control your sugar. The caramel should be a deep mahogany brown, and the smell of caramel should fill the kitchen. To stop the caramel getting to dark, carefully dip the base of the pan in cold water when you are satisfied with the color, then layer the bananas and pour over the batter. ITS THAT SIMPLE.

 

Caramel banana upside-down cake

60 g butter

110 g brown sugar

¼ tsp. Salt

3 banana

 

180 g plain flour

1 ½ tsp. Baking powder

¾ tsp. Salt

110 g sunflower oil

180 g white sugar

2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1 egg q egg yolk

170 ml buttermilk

 

Melt the butter in a cast iron pan, stir in the brown sugar and cook until it melts, on a medium heat. Stir the caramel occasionally to ensure an even color.

Slice the bananas and place them flat side down into the caramel, set aside.

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar, oil and buttermilk until smooth. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter over the bananas and caramel.

Place the dish into an oven preheated to 180 C for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the dish 180 degrees and continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the cake is beautifully brown.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to sit for five minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the dish. Turn out the cake onto a serving dish and allow it to cool for 20 minute. Serve it with dollops of whipped cream.

Apple Štrudel

Apple strudel

At least a few wee desserts to keep the sweet tooth satisfied. Pastry was never my strong point, I never had the time, or the patience to make the perfect cake or perfect pie, but I really love making filo pastry. This is my therapy, when I feel I’m getting a step closer to „Vrapče bolnica “, then it’s time to whip out the tablecloth and get rolling.

Filo pastry was brought to Croatia by the Ottomans, and like every good food the Croatians held on tight and made it their own. In the north of Croatia they make „Štrukli“, filo dough bursting with fresh cream cheese, sometimes served in soup, and other times baked with gallons of thick double cream. Today we will talk about Strudel, a simple dessert that makes the most of seasonal fruit. Sweet, crisp, and melt in the mouth pastry, enveloping tart apples, it’s the perfect balance.

A few must haves: 1. You will need time, once the pastry is made, it needs to rest for at least two hours, but it’s better made the night before and placed in the fridge. This way the gluten has the time to stretch, and the pastry will be much easier to work with.

  1. You need a good-sized table and tablecloth to stretch out the pastry, this is done mainly by hand, but you need a rolling pin to start it.

Apart from time and a bit of patience, which I have neither of, the process is pretty straight forward, and very rewarding.

 

Apple Štrudel

 

Ingredients

For the pastry

400 g Flour (plain)

200 ml warm water

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Vinegar

40 g melted pork fat

Sunflower oil

For the Filling

6 medium apples

10 g vanilla sugar

150 g sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tbs. Apple brandy

Method

For the dough:

Dissolve the salt in the water. Place all the dry ingredients in the mixer and add the salt water mix. Knead on low until combined. Increase the speed and knead for a further 15 mins(the dough should form into a ball, and “beat” off the sides of the mixing bowl).

Form the dough into a ball, cover with the fat or oil, and set aside to rest for min 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

After the dough has rested, get ready to roll. Place the dough on a large table, covered with a clean tablecloth, dust with flour and roll out until it’s around 5mm thick. Again cover with oil or fat and leave to rest for a further 15 mins while you prepare the filling (you need to use a lot of oil, this prevents air getting at the pastry and drying it out).

For the filling:
Peel and grate the apples, place in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and squeeze out the extra liquid.

Begin to stretch the dough out using the backs of your hand, until you can see through it. Sprinkle with the apple mixture and a little oil and roll up. Dot with a few knobs of butter and place in a preheated oven at 180 C for 40mins.

Štrudla od jabuke

 

Sastojci:

Za tijesto:

400 g glatkog brašna

200 ml mlake vode

1 žličica soli

1 žličica octa

40 g otopljene svinjske masti

Suncokretovo ulje

Za filu:

6 srednje velikih jabuka

10 g vanili šećera

150 g šečera

1 1/2 žličice cimeta

2 žličice rakije od jabuke

Metoda:

Za tijesto:

Otopite sol u vodi. Stavite sve sastojke u posudu za mikser i dodajte slanu vodu. Miksajte na najmanjoj brzini dok se sastojci ne sjedine. Pojačajte brzinu i miksajte još 15 min.

Formirajte kuglu od tijesta, stavite u posudu, premažite uljem ili svinjskom masti, prekrijte plastičnom folijom i pustite tijesto da odmara minimalno 1 sat.

Nakon što se tijesto odmorilo, pripremite se za razvlačenje tijesta. Na veliki stol, prethodno prekriven sa čistim stolnjakom stavite tijesto te ga razvaljaljte na otprilike 5mm debljine. Opet premažite uljem ili svinjskom masti i ostavite da odmara još 15 minuta dok pripremate filu.

Za filu:
Ogulite i naribajte jabuke, stavite ih u zdjelu i dodajte ostale sastojke. Dobro promiješajte, te iscijedite višak tekućine.

Krenite razvlačiti tijesto koristeći nadlaničnu stranu šake sve dok tijesto nebude dovoljno tanko da se vidi kroz njega. Filu rasaporedite po tijestu, poprskajte sa malo ulja i zarolajte. Maslac narežite na listiće i rasporedite po zarolanoj štrudli. Štrudlu stavite peći u prethodno zagrijanu pečnicu na 180C 40minuta.

Kada je štrudla gotova pospite po njoj šećer u prahu i uživajte!