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Posted by Executive Chef Paul on April 02, 2014
When you are passionate about something - you just can't let go. Ever. That is the foundation of our amazing Lemon Tart at TC Paris.
It started when I was a young boy living in Hudson, NY. My fathers work often had him traveling to NYC for several days at a time. And when he would return, all I could hope for was that he returned with my favorite Lemon Tarts from the French Bakery in NYC.
I never knew the name of the bakery or much more about it, other than it was a French Bakery in the legendary city of New York. A city I only dreamed of living in one day. But what I never ever forgot was the taste of the Lemon Tart. The true fresh citrus flavors from the lemon curd that dazzled your tastebuds like the first burst of summer. The soft marshmallowy meringue (not dry and spongy). It was a treat that I always longed for when my father returned from NYC trips.
Over the years, this French bakery closed up shop in NYC. I tried lemon tarts around the globe and never found one that compared. There was only one way to solve this problem. . . I was going to build my lemon tart from the memories. I would recreate the wheel from a 17 year old memory.
We started with perfecting the lemon curd. I wanted to keep bits of the lemon zest in the curd, rather than strain it out. This is amazing flavor and texture. Why would I ever discard it? I opted to whip the butter into the curd, only after it had cooled - the way my grandfather taught me.
We nailed the italian creamy meringue with the addition of Badoit (imported from France) water used in our simple syrup - infused into the beating egg whites.
And the shell . . . ahhhh the tart shell. Here is where the hard work begins. We started with a tender sweet dough crust to counter the tart lemon. It was amazing. Or was it?
We invited the fussiest person we could think of, in all of Albany, to taste our amazing lemon tart. Daniel B (From FussyLittleBlog - and a truly respected food critic) gave us a thumbs down on the lemon tart crust. Although he truly appreciated our French Macarons and Duchilly Hazelnut Pralines - he was not a fan of our tart crust. But what does he know? Who is he? The expert on Lemon Tart Crusts? We didn't care what he thought right? Of course we CARE. The truth be told, we were devastated. We specifically called upon Daniel because we knew he would not hold any punches. He would look us in the face and tell us the truth. We like the truth. The truth helps us grow and become the very best at what we do.
Certainly, we don't ever let one persons opinion dictate how we bake. But Daniels comments were not discouraging - they were the exact opposite. What if we really did get it wrong? What if my memory was not as good as I thought it was? What if . . . we could do better?
TC Paris was created with a passion for perfection. We rely on this passion to bring our customers the very best in everything we create. Pushing us to excel at everything we bring out from the TC Paris kitchen. We started over again with our tart crust . . . and we worked hard.
Less sugar. Just the right amount of butter to make the crust snap and flake but not crumble too much. The addition of vanilla bean to the crust to pop the lemon curd flavor. Blending the crust just the right amount so as to not overwork the dough. The end result was a thinner, darker, snappier, crust with hints of vanilla.
1 Year Later . . . and countless hours in the test kitchen - our new Lemon Tart has emerged. We introduced this new lemon tart in October of 2013 and we never looked back.
Thank you Daniel for being a friend to TC Paris and pushing us to do our best - we look forward to your return to Albany soon. Our crust has been waiting for you. Thank you to the TC Paris staff for never accepting 'mediocre' - and thank you to our customers who appreciate our efforts in bringing the finest French Pastries, Desserts and confections to Saratoga Springs and beyond.