Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day One: Meringuée au Citron, Gosselin

Today the Pastry-a-Day project kicks off with a Parisian favorite, the Tarte Citron, from Gosselin, which is not a strip club owned by Jon Gosselin but a delicious bakery on Boulevard St. Germain just a stone's throw from the Seine. To be honest I've only had Gosselin's baguettes (so crusty-delicious that I ate half of one just walking home from my French lesson one après-midi) and their Galettes du Rois ("King's Cake," an almond frangipane concoction made to celebrate the Epiphany and prevalent in patisserie windows throughout the month of January).

But I've always admired the patisserie on display at Gosselin so for my first blog posting I chose the shiniest, most luscious-looking item on offer: the Meringuée au Citron (Lemon Meringue Tart). I love all things lemon (shout out to my Lemon sisters!): lemonade, lemon chicken, lemonheads, lemon bars, Liz Lemon...this little meringue practically shouts "take me home!" And look how cute it is, how proudly it holds its swirly, toasted-meringue topper and how brightly the lemon curd beams from the sturdy crust. Now for the first taste: the lemon is a nice balance between acid and sweet - it's hard to get a lemon flavor that is both au naturel and satisfyingly tart. One runs a high risk of producing a curd that tastes like Lemon Pledge (we've probably all had a lemon bar or two that bore this miscalculation). The aftertaste is a bit too cloying - not sure if that's sugar or the butter surely present in this curd because of its creamy color.

The crust is fairly bland - though it would need a strong "pop" of ginger or nutmeg to stand up to the lemon flavor - and really seems just to serve as a holder for the curd. The meringue is similarly inert - fluffy and airy, but doesn't provide much of a balance to the curd either. Hmm! I give this pastry a 6. It had me at "citron," but didn't bring it home.

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