kolaz versusThis is my first head-to-head tasting challenge. These are two similar ideas for recipes from different continents, a very European tart (Lemon Tart/Tarte au Citron) and a very American Lemon Meringue Pie. The only common ingredients were lots of lemons and eggs. What contrary results!  In my international family, it was pretty interesting to find out which of us preferred which dessert.  The results confirmed my European roots with my preference for the tart, while my All-American husband preferred the pie. These are two very different recipes starting from the dough, through the lemon curd, to the final touch and garnish.

tart15The biggest challenge here is the tart dough. This is very different than regular pie dough and is a little sweeter; hence the name for it is Pate Sucree (Sweet Dough). It is a little harder to roll out and very fragile and crumbly, more like a cookie dough.
I made, and threw out, 2 tarts before I finally tried a recipe that worked.  To make it work, I took inspiration and guidance from two places.  Again, the ideas from American Test Kitchen never fail, so I started there.  In addition, I recently have been reading a new book titled The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer, and I love how everything is so nicely explained.  So these were my two guides.  The original French recipe asks for using a combination of almond flour and cake flour. Since I didn’t have any almond flower I decided to just use the all purpose flour. I tried to make the tart with just cake flour and this is the one that ended up in my trash. The all purpose flour has slightly more gluten and that’s what helps to keep the dough together and prevent it from crumbling. More »