authors note: the really excellent quality pictures were taken by my dear friend René Champagne. You should check out his website. Click here. It’s awesome. He’s awesomely talented. And nice too :0)
charles & sarah (photo by rené champagne)
Everyone… meet Charles & Sarah. Today is their official 1 month anniversary. Exciting eh?
I’ve known Charles now for… 8 years now? (it’s been long enough that I had to think about that one). Here’s the deal:
1. Charles is René’s brother. Therefore he is Gigi’s brother-in-law. René & Gigi are two of my BFFs. Therefore… we’re all one family.
2. Charles has THE BEST LAUGH ever. For realz. When he laughs it just erupts from his chest – an all-encompassing laugh that makes everyone around him join in. The best laugh EVER.
3. Charles taught himself how to play the accordion. On youtube. That my friends… well, that makes him pretty darn cool in my estimation.
I could write more about him, but really – just those 3 things make him a quality person.
I met Sarah because she and Charles started dating. And I have to say… I really like her. She nice, and sweet, and smiles a whole lot and makes him smile, and he makes her smile. They… make each other happy. Happiness.
You might be wondering why I said that today is their official anniversary. That’s because they got married twice! Yep. TWICE. The first time, a celebration with friends and family was August 14th. But the actual exchanging of vows was on Monday, August 16th. You see… both of their parents got married on August 16th (same day – same year – – sweet eh?). And so, Charles and Sarah decided to do the same thing and share their wedding anniversary with both sets of parents… Gigi and René… do you feel left out yet? ;0)
You’re probably wondering why I’m going on and on about this right? I’m getting to it!
I baked their wedding cake. I offered to bake the big one and they took me up on that offer… and then, remembering that they were actually holding a family bbq to celebrate the exchanging of the vows, I made them a wedding tart. Yeppers! I was thrilled, positively thrilled to have a hand in making both days special.
After some careful discussions (while sampling cake) Charles and Sarah endeared themselves to me even more… they supported my idea (well really, my strong desire) to make a 3 tired cake that was square, round, square.
cutting into their top-tier (photo by rené champagne)
dark chocolate cake (photo by rené champagne)
My first attempt at it… I realize that my middle rounds should have been a bit larger in circumference… however, I think that the cake still turned out. And then Emily got to it – heaps of cream cheese frosting, filled and covered the marble base, lemon centre and dark chocolate top. Smoothed over with some vanilla fondant – classic and simple and exactly what the bride and groom requested. The green ribbon followed the wedding colours – and Gigi and René told me it was a HUGE success!!!! According to Gigi… people were going back for seconds! YAY! That’s the best news EVER.
We had discussed them saving the top-tier (dark chocolate) for their official wedding day – but I thought that they could use something else too. And so… I made a lemon meringue tart. I HEART this tart like crazy. Why you ask?
1. I heart this shortbread base (it’s the one I used for the chocolate ganache custard tart)
2. My meringue turned out silky and smooth
3. I PIPED the meringue! For realz! Me… piping by choice! AMAZING!
4. Lemon rocks. Therefore so does this tart.
Two desserts for two people who got to celebrate their love for one another on two very different, but equally special days. And I had a part it in… even if it was just the dessert.
authors note: this recipe was a combination of both a David Lebovitz recipe (lemon semifreddo) and a James Peterson recipe (passion fruit meringue tart).
lemon meringue tart
made in three stages – all simple to complete and not too time consuming.
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
good slug of limoncello
1/2 c. sugar
6 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, limoncello, sugar and butter.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. When the butter has melted in the saucepan, whisk some of the warm liquid into the beaten eggs, whisking constantly while you pour (this prevents the eggs from curdling). Once done, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan (that is still over low heat). Cook, whisking constantly, the curd will start to thicken – don’t let it start to boil. Remove from heat.
Place a strainer over a medium bowl.
Pour the curd into the strainer – this will remove any little bits, and make for a silky smooth curd. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the pre-baked tart shell.
4 egg whites
tiny pinch of cream of tartar
2/3 c. sugar
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar, beating them together with your whisk attachment. Start at a slow speed, slowly increasing until the egg whites start to foam. Slowly add the sugar (beating continuously), and then increase the speed (place on the highest speed), beating until stiff peaks form.
Fill a pastry bag (with a large tip) with the beaten meringue. Starting at the edge of the tart, pipe little rosettes over the lemon curd.
Preheat the broiler. Set your oven rack as high in the oven as possible. Place the tart on the rack and rotate it constantly – be careful! It browns very quickly – this should take about 30 seconds.
(photo by rené champagne)