One of my favorite desserts: Tarte au Citron from France
I had a really difficult time deciding which recipes to share with you for this (first) World Recipe Exchange; so I did what I always do when I can’t decide what to make for dinner: I let the farmers decide for me! Both France and Italy have left their imprint on African food and culture. Add to that the influence of the millions in the African diaspora who now live in Europe, the US and other areas of the West… well, food blends us, mixes us and shows us how we are much more similar in our tastes than we are different. So, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do an Eritrean-style pasta dish, a traditional French dish, or something from another part of the globe…
For those of you who haven’t yet heard me talk about it, I’ll let you in on a rather well-known secret: I love the organic farmer’s market. I go to one locally and really enjoy getting good quality food of course. But one of the other things I enjoy is walking around with my fair trade Bolga baskets in hand and filling them up with the freshly-picked seasonal treasures. You know, those fruits and veggies that some people don’t even know exist…
I like dirt on it, bugs coming out when you rinse it kind of veggies. I like being reminded that they come from the Earth and that the farmer can tell me what to do with it, how to select the best one and sometimes, yes they even tell me “Oh, you don’t want that this week; they’ll be better next week”. That is what personal relationships do. They teach us and they give us reasons to smile.
So, when looking for inspiration as to what to cook, I went where I usually go: to the market. I decided to let my senses help me choose. So here we go:
My choices were: Tarte au Citron and Aleecha, which are French and Eritrean (in that order). Here is the first recipe:
Tarte au Citron, from France because the lemons looked absolutely fabulous! They were bright, spring-like in color and with an aroma that called me from across the stand.
My favorite recipe is an adaption of the one from a book called The Food of France: A journey for food lovers. (Bay Books)
Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Roll out the pastry dough and line a 23 cm (9 inch) round fluted tart tin. I often just buy pre-made pie crusts in the refridgerated section of my grocery store, if time is an issue for me. If you use a pre-made pie crust, remember to let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling it out and putting it in your tart tin!
For pie filling:
2 egg yolks
285g sugar (1 and ¼ cups)
185ml (3/4 cup) heavy cream
250 ml (1 cup) lemon juice
Finely grated zest from 3 lemons
To make filling: Wisk together sugar, eggs and egg yolks. Add the cream, then the lemon juice and zest.
Pre-bake your crust at 190C/375F for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can use baking beads, dried beans, or rice… whatever you usually use to keep your pie crusts flat on the bottom as they bake(until cooked, but still pale in color).. I have even used a fork to poke small holes in the (bottom only!) of the pie crust before baking; and that has worked fine for me.
Reduce temperature to 150C (300F)
Put the pie tin on a baking tray and carefully pour the filling into the pastry case. Return to the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling has set.
Cool completely before serving