Problem with lemon tart.... need help

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by dean.b, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. dean.b

    dean.b

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    I have a reoccuring problem with my lemon tart.  I pull it out of the oven and it looks perfect.  When it cools I carefully take it out of the fluted flan tin (mostly I used a knife and make sure the edges have come away from the tin first) and inevitably a crack appears right around the edge of the tart seperating the filling from the pastry.  It is driving me crazy as it doesn't always do it and I can't seem to work out what I am doing for this to happen.

    Any ideas???
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Is it that the crust relaxes when it comes out of the ring and sags away from the filling which stays firm and steady?

    If so, you might consider crisping up your crust a little by adding more sugar to it and baking at a slightly higher temp. 

    You could also fool around with thinner and thicker crusts.  A thinner crust seems counter-intuitive but should crisp better.  While a thicker crust is simply more self-supportive.  

    BDL
     
  3. cakeface

    cakeface

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    Dean.b,

    I understand your problem - I had a great lemon tart recipe but as you say when it cooled it parted from the crust- fortunately when making lemon meringue pie, the Italian meringue on top hides the problem.

    When I have to make a lemon tart without any cover such as meringue, I will bake the tart base blind and fill with lemon curd- so the finish is perfect.

    Years ago I spoke about this same problem to another chef, he gave me lemon tart recipe and guaranteed that it didn't separate from the pastry- it is better especially on the day of serving, but inevitably after a day or so in the fridge it will shrink from the sides (especially I've noticed if the fridge is very cold). 
     
  4. bazza

    bazza

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    I dont know what your method is but I always make sure the pastry is hot before pouring in the cold filling, this seems to form a seal. Also I never refrigerate the tart until it has absolutely cooled. On the occasions I have not done either of these it has cracked.
     
  5. rat

    rat

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    Try to brush egg white around the rim of the tart shell just as it comes out of the oven and it is still very hot., some shrinkage is caused by the crust wicking away moisture from the filling causing it to contract. That may help you in your quest.
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    Have you considered "Blind baking" the crust for a short time before you pour in the filling to bake? This may firm up the crust.
     
  7. rat

    rat

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    I was assuming the crust was blind baked.
     
  8. titomike

    titomike

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    I would assume as Rat...par baked if not cooked out.

    ....Not a pastry chef but I can't imagine what's in the filling that actually requires much ovening...cornstarch-based, lemon curd (I gather from Cakeface) or creme pat styles are stove-top deals...at least they will work that way with a cooked out shell hot or cold...(interesting Bazza). The mixes are usually stabilised so even eggs wont require as much time/temp as the base.

    I push the blind/par baking thing beyond the recipe recommendation 'cos I find chefs, not being pastry specialists routinely undercook short pastry with the result not being 'short'. I find 'water-proofing' with eggwhites to be a sensible practise for the same reason. Imho, If there is a 'magic bullet in the kitchen its eggwhites...the things I do with them! I'm wondering if 'white-washing' the greased tin prior to lining might add a layer of protection for chiller life...hmmnn?

    What I'm getting at is perhaps the recipe is trying to 'multi-task' the two cooks without stressing it so that if the balance is out on the day it will be to undercooked pastry, which when corrected, which would logically lead to an overcooked filling causing the shrinkage through evapouration...when stuff dries out it gets smaller.

    I just wanted to put this out there 'cos one of my chefs is having a diiferent issue with his chosen recipe for the same tart and when I look at it it doesn't make sense to me on the 'combo' ovening level....my instincts trust technique over a given recipe.

    Just trying to help and certainly don't want a serve as have been handed out lately.../img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif
     
  9. dean.b

    dean.b

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    Thanks everyone, I'll give these ideas a go.

    Cheers
     
  10. lynlowenstein

    lynlowenstein

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    I wonder did you ever get to the bottom of this problem?  I am having same problem now! Will work through ideas, but there's nothing obvious I'm doing wrong.
     
  11. lia9255

    lia9255

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    Have you tried using a bain marie?  I realize you said the crack forms around the edge between the crust and filling (rather than on the top) but maybe using a water bath may help.

    Depending on what filling you're using, you could also pipe some overfill in the gap late towards the end of the bake to compensate for shrinkage.