1. The big stuff. Guess what guys. This is big. I quit my job. But before you start thinking that I'm crazy for leaving a perfect job at a fantastic design agency, just understand that it didn't come easy. It wasn't about the job — I'm changing careers. It was a huge decision, but I've made it and now I'm committed to it. I've decided that I want to pursue my aspirations of becoming a TEACHER! And now I'm back in school so that I can apply for teacher's college.
My beloved desk at my studio. I'll miss you!!
2. The cheesy stuff. Just in case you were wondering, Andrew and I are doing very well. We're very much growing and enjoying our lives together. It's been an amazing year and a half and we're both really excited to see where tomorrow will take us!
Look where Andrew took me for my birthday!! We went on a private horse trail riding!! He surprised me for my birthday and I had SUCH a great time. :) On a side note: Do you like our dinky little helmets? Ha!!
3. The cute stuff. My little niece, Chloe is honestly, the cutest, most lovable thing on EARTH. It's so beautiful and incredible to see new life. Really, the most amazing thing to experience all these "firsts" with a new baby. Each time she laughs, it's like the whole place lights up and in truth, it seems like she's playing with us rather than us playing with her. I'm so grateful for her and her parents. I miss her everyday!!
4. The grateful stuff. Honestly, everyone. I'm so grateful for your patience and encouragement over the few months. I'm sorry I've been so MIA but I'm amazed at how you still look forward to my blog entries!! It's really unbelieveable how warm and kind you all are. Thank you thank you thank you. You inspire me and motivate me!
Grateful for this tart pan! My friend gave me a williams-sonoma certificate for my birthday. You girls know exactly what I need/want. Hehe.
5. The delicious stuff. Yes yes it's the moment you've been all waiting for. Sometimes I feel bad when I write too much on my life etc., because I know you're thinking, "Okay.. now on with the food please!!!" Like I promised and you've proposed, I made the delicious French Lemon Cream Tart, courtesy of Dorie Greenspan. It was a recipe you really need to invest your time and heart in, but very much worth it.
The cream is truly extraordinary. It's marvelously smooth and velvety, with the perfect amount of sweet and tart. But to be honest, it was a challenging recipe for me this time. I was soo surprised and a bit disappointed to see how rusty I got. Man! Not baking and photographing for months really takes a toll on ya! Not going to lie, I'm not totally happy with the execution and the photography this time. I hope you can forgive me! Hopefully I'll get back on track soon.
But it was still really delicious and dorie's recipe was 100% fantastic.
UPDATED: Okay okay okay. I'll post up the recipe! It wasn't like me anyway. Haha. So instead, I have paraphrased her recipe! Hope it's not too choppy, or I haven't gotten too chatty. Nevertheless, still look at investing in her cookbook. It's really an amazing book!
Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
1 cup sugar
grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
2 sticks plus 5 tbsp (10 1/2oz) unsalted butter, cut into tbsp-size pieces, at room temp
1 9-inch tart shell made with sweet tart dough (I used an allrecipes recipe because Dorie's recipe only asks for a super pulsing food processor, which I don't have. You can just use your favourite sweet tart dough!)
1. You need an instant-read thermometer, strainer, and a blender ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
2. Before setting over the simmering water, in a large heatproof bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
3. Now set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels lukewarm to touch. You'll need to slowly cook the lemon cream until it reaches 180F. It's important that you whisk constantly to prevent scrambled eggs.
As you keep whisking, the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger. Watching carefully as the temperature rises closer to 180F, it will become thicker and the whisk will leave tracks. You're ALMOST there! Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature but most importantly, be patient! Depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting it to 180F might take as long as 10 minutes (or 15 for me!)
4. As soon as it reaches 180F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender; discard the zest. Let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140F, about 10 minutes.
5. With the blender on HIGH, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down sides and make sure the butter is incorporated. (Mine just sat there on top of the cream if I didn't do this). Once the butter is mixed, keep the machine going. This will be the heavenly path to divine lightness, airy texture of "lemon-cream dreams" (that's her word). Continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes, working in intervals if your blender gets overheated.
6. Before you pour the cream into a container, take a scoop with a new spoon and eat it. And savour it. And relish it. (This is my own line).
7. Now pour the cream into a container, pressing a piece of plastic wrap right against the surface of the cream. This creates a super airtight seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Wow! FOUR+ hours to wait. See, aren't you glad you followed instruction #6?). The cream will keep in the fridge for 4 days or, tightly sealed, up to 2 months in the freezer. You'll just have to thaw it overnight in the fridge.
7. When you are ready to assemble the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it in the tart shell. Serve the tart, or refrigerate until needed.