Jun 13 2012
Since J is now gluten-free, I have not been baking as much. That is with the exception of helping L with her big bake sale at school, and making gluten-free cake and cupcakes (from a very delicious, homemade-tasting King Arthur Mix for Gluten Free Chocolate Cake) for various gatherings so the J can be included in dessert….O.K., I guess I’ve still been baking. Nonetheless, I have not fully accepted the gluten-free baking challenge.
Then, I had an abundance of Meyer lemons because I joined a CSA and we got several Meyers as part of our weekly box, two weeks in a row. Citrus is something that we have a ton of at our house, but I don’t feel compelled to use it all up because I pick oranges and lemons and limequats as needed from the trees right outside my kitchen. The CSA Meyer lemons, however, were calling to me and once off the tree, this variety spoils fairly quickly. They are delicate.
I decided to make a Gluten Free Meyer Lemon Tart, using recipes from a bunch of different places. I’m not sure I could even re-create it, but I’d want to try, because it was pretty delicious.
Here is what I did. I made the tart shell from Dorie Greenspan’s book “Baking”, but instead of flour I used an equivalent amount of the Gluten Free flour mix from the blog “The Art of Gluten Free Baking”, which was recommended to me by my friend, Laura, who writes the blog “Tiramisu”. The tart crust came out very well, though it had a little grittiness, which is typical of some gluten free baked goods, I’ve found. I guess that has to do with how fine the rice flour is ground. The flavor, however, was perfect – and I suspected the texture would be offset by the lemon filling and the meringue, which it was.
Next up, I didn’t want the ultra-richness of a lemon curd, but also didn’t want the almost gelatin-like corn-starchy thickness of some lemon meringue pies. I settled on making 3/5-2/3 of the lemon filling (using 3/5 or 2/3 of the ingredients – depending on what the amounts were) in the recipe for lemon meringue pie in Fine Cooking. I also added quite significantly more Meyer lemon rind and juice – about 1 1/2 Tbsp. rind and 1/3+ cup of Meyer lemon juice (in other words, I used the full amounts of those ingredients). The additional juice added flavor and made the texture a little thinner, but it still cut beautifully. This lemon curd was the right amount for spreading in the tart, but would have been too little for a pie. The filling needed to set, so I let it sit for a few hours. Obviously, I didn’t use the gingersnap crumbs that are called for in the Fine Cooking recipe. They weren’t allowed for a gluten free tart and also weren’t necessary since I used a more cookie-like crust.
Finally, I made a traditional Swiss meringue as indicated in the Fine Cooking recipe, but I again reduced the amount: 3 egg whites (from the 3 yolks I used in the lemon filling), 1/2 cup regular granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. It wasn’t a generous amount on the tart, but that meant it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, either – a good thing!
All-in-all, a very successful first attempt and, most importantly, J loved it and nobody felt like they were eating a strange concoction.