For mother’s day this year (May 12th in various countries), my family organized a Zoom session and I wanted to bake my mother a tart that I could present to her for the occasion. I had a vision of creating a vibrant treat to all senses. Something colourful, with varying textures and flavours, so I began with two of my go-to flavours: lemon and raspberry (remember my Lemon Curd and Raspberry madeleines?). Maybe lemon curd and raspberry chia seed jam on a pâte sucrée aka sweet pastry crust – buttery, crumbly and slightly sweet. But I wanted something else in the tart, another layer to give off a vibrant colour, providing additional texture (since the lemon curd and raspberry jam are both creamy in their own right).
Waste not, want not
I remembered Geoffrey buying whole pistachios earlier in the week, and I had a few egg whites left from all the egg yolks required in the sweet pastry crust and lemon curd. That’s how I decided to create my own version of a pistachio frangipane that uses only egg whites – what I thought would resemble a dacquoise, which is quite commonly used in French pastry and is made up of whipped egg whites and ground almonds. I would then top off the tart with a Swiss meringue (again, going with the waste not, want not philosophy of ensuring all parts of the eggs are used up). The result? A very happy mother (salivating through Zoom) and an even happier husband who shamelessly finished the tart (with my help) in two days!
Below is the recipe for the lemon, raspberry and pistachio tart, I hope you have as much fun as I did creating and devouring it!
INGREDIENTS – for a 10-inch tart ring
|Sweet Pastry Crust
Pistachio and Almond Dacquoise
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam
For the sweet pastry crust: In a large bowl, place the flour, salt, sugar and butter. Using your fingers, mix them together and ensure that all of the cubed butter is coated with flour. Add the egg yolks in the middle. Continue to mix with your hands until the dough comes together – at this stage it will be a relatively sticky dough. Wrap it in clingfilm, and refrigerate it for at least four hours (I made mine the night before).
Prepare the raspberry chia seed jam: In a small saucepan, on low heat, cook the raspberries with lemon juice and honey until all of the raspberries have broken down. Pour the mixture into a container, add the chia seeds and mix well with a spoon. Cover with a lid, and refrigerate for at least four hours. The chia seeds will thicken up the mixture to create a jam texture. This is a great alternative to traditional sugar-laden, store-bought jams, and I have made various versions of this jam using different types of berries.
To make the lemon curd: In a medium saucepan, place the butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt on low heat, until the butter melts. Take the saucepan off heat, and add the egg yolks, whisking as you go. Bring the saucepan back onto the stove, on low heat, continue to whisk without stopping for about 10 minutes until the curd thickens. To test, run your finger across the back of a spoon and if it holds a trail in the curd, it is done. Strain the lemon curd, place it in a jar with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
Getting the tart dough ready for blind baking: Pre-heat your oven to 170°C. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Place it on a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin, roll into a large circle (2-3cm larger than the base of your tart ring). If you find the dough to be sticky or buttery, this is normal given the butter and egg content – just sprinkle more flour on the surface and on the dough. Lay the dough in the tart ring, then press it firmly against the bottom and the sides. Trim off any excess. Prick the dough with a fork, then line it with a sheet of baking paper. Carefully add weights (dried beans, uncooked rice etc), making sure they are evenly distributed, and blind bake for 15 minutes; then another 10 more minutes without the weights. Set aside.
Preparing the pistachio and almond dacquoise: Set your oven lower to 160°C. In a small bowl, mix ground pistachios, almonds and vanilla extract. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with sugar until stiff. Fold in the dry ingredients in two batches into the egg whites mixture, then spread the batter evenly on top of the par-baked tart crust. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Making the Swiss meringue: Over a bain-marie, combine all the ingredients until the sugar dissolves (make sure that the bowl does not touch the boiling water in the saucepan). This should take less than a minute, as you simply want the sugar to dissolve, but not cook the egg whites! In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), whisk the mixture until it’s glossy and reaches stiff peaks. Divide the meringue into three piping bags fitted with piping tips of your choice – I used star tips of three different sizes.
Assembly: Using an offset spatula, spread the raspberry chia seed jam on your tart crust, on top of the pistachio and almond dacquoise – aim to do this as evenly as possible. Clean your offset spatula, then spread the lemon curd on top of the jam. Be careful to do this gently as you do not want the lemon curd to run into the jam layer. Pipe the swiss meringue on top of the lemon curd, and give each piped meringue a quick torch (that’s my favorite part). Place the raspberries on top of the tart and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios.