I grew up on Main Street; I don’t say that like the politicians say it (who are all lying anyway), I say that because I literally grew up on a Main Street. I always found the name a little silly because we lived in a house on a cul-de-sac, at the top of a hill, on a dead end street. I suppose our street was a tributary off an actual Main Street, but in all my years of searching, I’ve never found that street.
Because of our discrete location, we kids never had a lemonade stand but even still nothing says summer to me like tart, fragrant, yellow lemons; and climbing trees. At the top of our hill was a tall tree, perfect for climbing, which we all loved to do, of course. One of the boys in the neighborhood even nailed a small plank of wood to the side of the tree, almost to the very tip top, and the goal was always to climb high enough to sit on that plank and peer all the way down the hill. That plank finally gave way, after many years of enjoyment, under my sister Pamela’s unfortunate rear.
In time, that tree and what we liked to call the “forest”, though no more than 15 trees comprised that forest, gave way to make room for a nursing home. It didn’t matter that my childhood friend Jenine and I talked about chaining ourselves to that tree when the bulldozers arrived, they cut it down anyway, and it seemed that was the day our childhood ended.
Tuesdays with Dorie posted a sweet lemon concoction, it seems like over a year ago, and I quickly added it to my favorite dessert list. It is titled The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart, and it always brings me back to my childhood summers.
Extraordinary Lemon Tart
Dorie adopted this recipe from Pierre Hermé, and I adapted it from Dorie. This dessert is smooth and tart, and it will make you involuntarily squint your eyes and pucker your lips from it’s potent lemon flavor. Though I love it, and respect the French for their exquisite culinary taste, I have found a great alteration to this beautiful dessert is to add 3 cups of whipped cream to the dessert (or 1 8oz. tub of cool whip) to lighten and smooth out the flavor.
1 cup sugar
Zest from 3 lemons
Rub sugar and zest together in a metal bowl, or top of a double boiler, until well incorporated and fragrant
4 whole eggs
¾ cup lemon juice
Whisk together with sugar until frothy
Place over heat, in a double boiler manner, and stir constantly until mixture reaches 180°F, or becomes of a custard like consistency
Remove from heat and let cool to room temp
Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming, and refrigerate to chill
When set, mix with cream and spoon into crust (recipe above)
One year ago: Our Love Story, Cheesecake Marbled Brownies