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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Culinary School - Session 9: Lemon Tart and Galette Flamande

Culinary School: Session 9 (09.05.14)

Lemon Tart and Galette Flamande

Only two items tonight? Yeah, I got this...

Don't be fooled. Quantity does not equal complexity. It would seem there is a method to the madness that is the academic syllabus.

This session introduced two more meringue techniques... had us making multiple crusts with one hand while stirring custards with another... and all of those piping bags! The complexity level has stepped up a notch. But the end products are that much more impressive.

Lemon Tart Close-Up

Let them make cake...

A number of people have been asking me for the detailed recipes for some of the items prepared in class.

First off, awesome! I love knowing that there are so many other pastry addicts out there who love all of this as much as I do. Semper Fudge!

That said, the International Culinary Center has been extremely generous and has given me the green light to post some select recipes, which is also awesome.

To be certain there is no confusion, when I do post a recipe from the school, I will make sure it is explicitly highlighted as such. Many of the recipes can be found in the James Beard Award winning book, "The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts", which the school published in 2009.

But it would be remiss of me if I failed to mention one of my biggest takeaways from culinary school: recipes account for about 5% of the process. Nothing compares to first hand experience. I don't doubt a good recipe will get you a good product (if I had any doubts, why would I post my own recipes?), but perfecting the technique through hours in the kitchen alongside experts is what the culinary school experience is all about.

All that said, I hope to post the amazing Ginger Snaps recipe sometime soon. So many people have been clamoring for it. It really is too good not to share.

Lemon Confit

- Ingredients Running Tally -

It was another bad day in the chicken coops as a growing focus on meringue-based confections has the class separating whites from yolks at an alarming rate. But you can't make an airy dacquoise without breaking a few eggs.

In the sugar category, there has been a formal ruling from the judges' table (aka, me). Corn syrup and other similar products (e.g. glucose, trimoline, etc.) are to be added to the running count.

It's not just white and brown sugar in pastry. Other types of sugar can be tremendously useful in controlling various properties of taste and texture in all forms of cooking and baking. Today, corn syrup was added to the lemon confit poaching solution to inhibit the formation of undesirable crystals.

Lastly, I've added a gram equivalent for eggs. With large eggs (shell excluded) weighing in at 50 grams per egg, it appears that class has been doing some heavy damage in that category too.

Ingredients used to date (09.05.14):
  • Flour: 3,705g
  • Eggs: 1,850g (37x)
  • Sugar: 2,640g
  • Butter: 2,160g
  • Milk/Cream: 1,330g

- The Recipes -


Lemon Tart (Tarte au Citron)

An intensely flavorful lemon custard tart with a toasted meringue topping and candied lemon slices. 

Focus Techniques:
- Creating lemon curd, a stirred custard prepared over a Bain-marie or water bath.
- Preparing a fruit confit using thinly sliced lemon peels. The peels are blanched multiple times to reduce bitter oils and then simmered in a sweet poaching liquid until soft and translucent.
- Whipping both Italian (hot sugar syrup) and Swiss (Bain-marie heated) meringues.
- Piping meringue topping in various patterns around the rim of the tart. A classic, French tart should include the meringue only along the outer rim.

Lemon Tart Group


Galette Flamande

A unique, layered tart in which a meringue and nut flour batter (i.e. dacquoise) is piped along the bottom and sides of a mold. The tart is then filled with a fruit compote and topped with additional dacquoise. A scattering of almonds on top provides a great textural contrast to the soft dacquoise.

Focus Techniques:
- Preparing a dacquoise using a "common" or French meringue.
- Preparing a fruit compote using a cornstarch slurry as a thickener.
- Piping a batter to minimize air loss in the light meringue.
- Creating a slightly mounded cake to offset volume loss during baking.

Galette Flamande Cherry Compote Layer

Unbaked Galette Flamande

Baked Galette Flamande

Galette Flamande Close-up

Take a look at the full syllabus

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