Some of you might remember my blog post about a book I read a few months ago – Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. Well, I finally decided to try out one of the recipes from the cookbook that Julie writes about; Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and what better recipe to try, than my favourite French cake ever – Tarte au citron meringuée! Lemon cake seemed especially fitting for Easter – maybe because of the yellow colour?
In Julia Child’s book the cake is simply called Tarte au citron and I have actually modified the recipe so that the cake would remind me more of those great lemon cakes I have eaten in Brussels over the years… I think the best lemon cake in Brussels can be found in L’amour fou (in Ixelles), one of my favourite restaurants! Have the big club sandwich and then a huge slice of tarte au citron meringuée for dessert – according to the on-line menu it will only cost you 13,55 € for the full meal. Mmmm, I think I need to plan a visit to Brussels soon and include dinner at L’amour fou!
Anyway, most of you don’t live in Brussels and will probably not visit any time soon, so here is a recipe to try at home:
Tarte au citron meringuée
100 grams butter
2 decilitres flour
3 tablespoons sugar
a pinch of salt
Mix everything together and add more flour if needed. Cover the base of a greased round springform cake tin (removable bottom) with the pastry dough and make a few holes with a fork. Bake for less than 10 min in a 160 degree oven.
1 1/4 decilitre sugar
4 egg yolkes
peel of one lemon / 2 limes
3 tablespoons of lemon / lime juice
Whisk the egg yolkes and sugar together until thick and light yellow. Add lemon peel and juice. Prepare a “bain-marie” (water bath) by putting a [preferably stainless steel] bowl in a pot with simmering water, and add the egg and sugar mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until really thick. NB Don’t let it boil or the yolkes will coagulate.
Pour the mixture into the pastry base.
4 egg whites
3/4 decilitres sugar
a pinch of salt
Beat the egg whites and salt until almost hard, add the sugar and continue beating until you can turn the bowl upside down without the eggs pouring out (ask the help of a strong man if you don’t have an electric whisk!!).
Pour the hard-beaten eggs carefully on top of the lemony mixture (already in the pastry base). Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve either warm or cold. The cake might sink a little when cooling but don’t worry, it will still taste great!
And don’t forget to look out for the film based on Julie Powell’s book – Julie & Julia, it should be coming out this year!