Winter Citrus Tartlet
So here’s how this went. Actually, let me preface this entire baking story with these facts:
I’ve watched way too many episodes of The Great British Baking show.
My son got “a little bit of pneumonia” yesterday (the doctor’s exact words) and now my husband and I have gnarly colds.
Why I choose days like today to try new things is BEYOND me. But, I call it self-care.
To start at the beginning, I had decided two weeks ago that I wanted to make a citrus tart. I was craving sour and sweet and wanted to make something pretty. Being all organic and resourceful like I am, I asked some friends if I could pilfer their citrus. I have one girlfriend with an orange tree and one with a lime tree. Bam. I tromped myself over to their houses, reached my hand over their wood fences and let myself in. Snagged half a dozen of each fruit, and I’m off. Nothing to see here!
I then proceeded to leave my carefully curated Ocean’s Eleven citrus on our dining table in a nice bowl on display... For two weeks.
“Tonight is the night I make the tart”, I told myself.
I had also made a list two weeks ago, just for this occasion. I actually got ingredients for key lime pie, and figured I’d make a citrus pie version because it seemed easier in my mind than making an actual tart. I lugged home a ton of sweetened condensed milk and God knows what else. I had the rest of the ingredients at home - sour cream, pie crust, sugar, and the like. I was good.
Well, by now the sour cream had been used on some enchiladas. Damn. Forgot about that. So I shifted back to the tart plan, which didn’t require sour cream. I had all the tart ingredients already in my fridge (sugar, eggs, heavy whipping cream, etc.). The catch: I only had half the eggs. No problem. I’ll halve the recipe and make tartlets. I’m a genius.
So I grab some Le Creuset ramekins that we got for our wedding ( I don’t have a pie pan, of course) and used a biscuit cutter on my pie crust to make mini crusts. I carefully placed them in the ramekins and … Hmmm. The mini crusts sunk. ALL. THE. WAY. IN. Ramekins are not shallow, they’re deep. Like my thoughts about tarts. Or lack thereof.
My pretty tart pie is already not so pretty.
I will not be deterred.
“Don’t people put beans or rice in the bottoms of these?” I thought to myself. Yes, the recipe says dry rice. Done.
I pulled my parchment paper out and then promptly forgot why I had it in my hand, so set it back down. I grab the rice.
I pour my rice into the raw pie crust and pop them in the oven. While in there I think, “shit. I forgot to put fork marks in the dough”.
AND I FORGOT TO PUT THE RICE IN PARCHMENT PAPER. You see, I just put rice straight onto the dough, cooking it in with the dough. Lord, help us.
I let my pie crusts finish baking with rice baked in and everything. Freaking awesome.
I then proceed to dump the tartlet crusts over and shake out the rice, burn all 10 finger tips, though do manage to get the rice grains out. Perfect! Back on track.
I whip up my filling and have a ton leftover - great call on halving the recipe! I pat myself on the back. All’s not lost.
I then transfer the remaining filling into a Tupperware (you know, in case I attempt a resurrection of my pride tomorrow after going to buy a pie tin and some sour cream) and see that about half of the sugar I put into the filling is in the bottom of the bowl. I whisked like a rookie.
All is most likey lost, but we still have a sense of humor about us and that’s all that matters.
I laugh. Or am I crying? No one can see me, so it doesn’t matter.
Moving on to the next step, I then realize I need “pie covers” or foil strips to cover the edges of my crust so it doesn’t burn. I try to McGyver this, and while I do figure it out, it’s extremely ugly and highly unlikely to work. Only a mother could love the faces of these tartlets, I’m sure of that.
I put them in the oven and use my number one all time tactic: pray.
In all honesty I didn’t really pray. That was a lie - ok, an exaggeration. By this point I had zero attachment to the outcome of these tarts. I’m just hungry and I want ice cream now.
Luckily, in the midst of what can only be explained as a baking miracle, I pull out the tartlets and they look good! Slightly wobbly in the center, and no burning on the edges - a little blasphemous browning, but come on. We hiked uphill both ways in the snow for these tartlets - they’re beautiful with a tan. I sprinkle some sugar on the top as they dry. Will that make them sink? Who cares. Doing it.
So I made some tea, poured in some honey and went to bed. I have a cold for Christ’s sake! And I’m 4 months pregnant. What am I doing?
Self care, oh yeah. Self care.
I schlep upstairs and get into pjs. I smile. Life is good.
And that my friends is why I bake. I kid I kid. I don’t bake, remember? This is mostly why. But when I do, it’s fun and hell, the tartlets were damn good in the morning. Like, sell them at a patisserie good. Too bad my husband will NEVER go for that idea. Another dream left to die, like my citrus pie.
If you liked this, you’ll LOVE my recreation of Chrissy Tiegen’s gnocchi here.
In case you get a wild hair and want to use the recipe I kind of followed: It’s care of Epicurious.