I’d like to live by the sea one day. I imagine a cloudy morning and I’m walking barefoot by the shore with sand in between the toes. The silent waves push and pull the sand away. I look out towards the horizon and I’m at peace.
When I was in college I attended this workshop organised by our university’s local peace institute. One by one, each of us from our small group would share his/her idea of peace. And that was my answer, brief but really hopeful. I was going through a rough patch during that time. And I would want nothing else than to escape and leave all worries behind. We’ve all been slaves to our hedonistic daydreams, maybe for a minute, maybe for a lot longer.
What I said was true, I’d like to live by the sea one day. And maybe I could throw in a nice house to go with the view. But more than anything else I’d like to divest myself of worldly problems. The assumption is by the time I do manage to save up for that dream, I’ve already swum with the sharks, climbed rugged mountains and danced on top of hot coals.
White Chocolate and Lemon Curd Tart with Candied Lemons
Not everyone can stand, let alone enjoy white chocolate per se. But when it’s tempered with a contrast in flavour, it becomes bearable, more often very very delicious, with the right amount of sweet and tart notes.
The recipe for the tart crust was adapted from Food Magazine’s April 2013 dessert issue – the vodka pie crust by Ginny Roces de Guzman. I have her cookbook, Bake Me A Cake, and I think it’s a beautiful labor of love. The lemon curd is just a standard recipe I got here.
- 1 vodka crust
- 1 recipe lemon curd (you will have leftover curd, but it’s versatile enough to be a fridge staple!)
- White chocolate ganache
- Candied lemons (you can do this ahead of time)
Make the white chocolate ganache
- 300 grams good quality white chocolate, chopped
- 150 grams whipped cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a pot, heat the vanilla and cream to a boil.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the white chocolate and the hot cream. With a spatula, mix everything together until the chocolate has melted and it’s smooth.
- If there are still bits and pieces, you may need to place the bowl over a water bath, or microwave it for 10-second intervals until smooth. Set aside when done.
Make the crust (this recipe produces two crusts. You only need one for the tart, save the other one for inevitable use)
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 cups cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Combine vodka and water and put into the freezer.
- In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter into grain-sized pieces. When the mixture gets a little pasty, add the remaining 1 cup flour.
- Sprinkle vodka water on the flour mixture. Use a rubber scraper to press and mix until it comes together to form a dough.
- Divide the dough in half. Pat each into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- When ready to use, let the dough rest on the counter so it will be easier to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.
- Lightly flour your workbench and rolling pin. Roll out the crust to fit a 9-inch tart pan. Carefully transfer to the pan.
- With a fork, poke the crust. This will prevent it from being too puffy. Cover the crust with aluminium foil and add rice or pie weights.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 F and continue to bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Let cool.
Make the candied lemons
- 2 lemons, sliced thinly, seeds carefully removed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup water
- enough water to cook the slices in a small or medium-sized pot
- Heat water to a boil and lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Add the lemon slices and allow to cook for 30 minutes.
- Combine water and sugar in a nonstick pan. Over medium heat, melt the sugar mixture until it becomes clear and syrup-like. Carefully arrange the slices evenly on the pan. Reduce the heat to very low.
- Allow the slices to cook and the sugar mixture to slowly caramelise. The slices have to take on the nice amber colour of the caramel. Be careful not to burn the sugar mixture. This will take around 30 minutes to an hour.
- Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a tray lined with nonstick paper.
- Remove the crust from the tart pan and onto a plate or cake board.
- Spread a thin layer of curd over the crust.
- Slowly pour the ganache over the curd.
- Top with candied lemons.
- Chill in the refrigerator until the ganache has set.