lemon meringue tart
Maybe I can get away with that scan of the recipe title for the subject of this post. For copyright reasons and in a valiant attempt to get you to buy the publication it is taken from I'll give you nothing more. Instructions for all of the elements are to be found in David Everitt-Matthias' second book, 'essence'. It is the dessert which Jan (Mrs Cheoff) chose on our first visit to Le Champignon Sauvage. It was tweaked on that night with a stunning basil mojito sorbet. The opening picture is of the version I made recently... also with a different sorbet and, for good measure, an alternative jelly.
Now and again I make something which demands more time than usual in the kitchen. The imminent arrival of my brother and sister-in-law was a fine reason to put in that time so that I could offer them something special.
Over a couple of days, the separate parts were prepared and ticked off a list, waiting for assembly on the night:
lemon verbena jelly
That trio was snapped in the kitchen during the making... a spot of egg carnage to produce fourteen yolks for the lemon custard - 'Italian' meringue in the oven - and one very quick pic of the plated version presented on the night.
After we had waved our visitors goodbye I was determined to do more permanent pictorial justice to the dessert we had enjoyed together. That involved using some 'left-overs', the back of a baking tray and some curved black card. I am still my fiercest critic and am already shaking my head at that ragged custard surface, the cracked pastry and those lamentable quenelles of raspberry sorbet, one of which is behaving very badly and melting. I can hear you tutting as well.
I can also imagine some of you telling me to cut out my silly protesting and admit that it looks pretty good... and you would also be right!
So there is a half-decent photographic record of my efforts. For more, see this album under my 'PHOTOS' tab. But let's get to an important point here. Thoughtful presentation is a lovely thing but it really doesn't affect the flavour of food. Of course, your delivery will add an extra visual element but taking care to understand a recipe and pulling out all the stops with taste profiles before even thinking about appearance is surely the best approach. Each part of my dessert tasted pretty terrific. That's my assessment... thankfully it was backed up by three others.
Choosing to attempt more complex recipes is going to present problems and will place demands on your patience. But, at whatever level you are cooking, the food you offer shouldn't be all about showing off. At the heart of things your efforts are giving an easily cracked coded message of love to special people in your life which tells them how much you think of them. That approach starts to make even a difficult process as easy as pie. Or, if you prefer, tart.
It still tasted great when it looked like this!