It Worked!

2008.May.23 Friday · 6 comments

in Casa SaltShaker, Food & Recipes

 The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

– Donald Kendall, Co-founder of PepsiCo

Buenos Aires – It’s not that I want to give short shrift to our private dinners. In some ways they’re among the best we offer, because generally, the request is something to the effect of “pick out some of your best dishes and make us that” or something much to that effect. So often, I don’t have much new to write about, and don’t even mention those evenings, other than perhaps in passing. This week we hosted one for a family, some of whom had been here last year for an evening that they clearly enjoyed enough to think of us not only for this private evening, but they’re planning on coming on another night while they’re still in town!

The menu started off with a mushroom strudel, a dish that I got raves about on our Transnistrian Independence Day celebration back in September. Next up, a favorite soup I like to make for us here at home, we haven’t offered it up for a Casa S dinner before – a vegetable soup with chickpeas and pappardelle pasta – very simple, and absolutely delicious. Then trout fillets with my now… perfected… no, it’s never perfected, but I like it the way it is… roasted tomato wine sauce – though I didn’t crust the fillets in pumpkin seeds, just simply baked them. And, since I still have this great source of duck breasts (and, given the state of things around here, who knows how long those will continue to be available, so I’m using them while I can), which I made with an orange sauce – a take on duck a l’orange based on a recipe I spotted out there on the ‘net – browning the duck, switching the breasts to another pan and into the oven (cooked more to medium this time), taking the drippings and cooking a puree of shallots and Earl Grey tea leaves in it until the shallots were lightly golden, then adding fresh orange juice, reducing it a bit, straining it, sweetening it with some honey and finishing it with butter. And then…

Chocolate Lemon Kiss Tart

The dessert I envisioned. It worked. I happen to love the combination of lemon and chocolate, but they take careful balancing. Intense lemon flavors are going to wash out something like milk chocolate. You need cocoa and/or bittersweet chocolate to work, and they have to be intense in themselves. Which simply makes the dessert very rich and very intense. So, I took the crust and the ganache topping from the chocolate passionfruit tart, and, as I commented below the original posting, decided to sandwich within them, the lemon kiss pie filling I’ve made a few times before. I partially pre-baked the crust, just about 10 minutes, then topped with the filling, baked until it was done, let it cool, then topped with the ganache, and chilled. It needs nothing added. I suppose a grating of lemon rind atop for color might be a nice touch. But really, it’s just as I’d hoped it would turn out. So, Richard of Marion’s in New York meet Nelida of the Belgrano Cooking School here. This is your offspring.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Goose May 23, 2008 at 15:19

A question on the lemon dessert: You say you partially baked the crust and then baked with the filling.
When I check the separate recipes, the crust for the passion fruit tart calls for 10-15 minutes for *complete* baking. So if you add the 35-40 minutes for the lemon filling, doesn´t that overcook the crust??

dan May 23, 2008 at 18:52

While there’s definitely logic in the question, the answer is no. My assumption is that it’s simply because it’s underneath the filling, which is also cold when it first goes into the oven, so it’s protected from direct heat and cooks very slowly at that point, plus probably absorbing some additional liquid from the filling. It’s not really any different from a standard pie crust – if you just put a rolled out pie crust in the oven by itself, it’ll be cooked as fast as any flatbread – in 15 minutes or so. But, you can prebake it for 10 minutes and then fill it and continue baking, and it stays nice and flaky. The wonders of food science…

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