slice of lemon tart

Do people you don’t know ever do things that drive you crazy?
For example:

 

This week, while walking on the beach, a man let his huge muddy dog jump on me (and my new coat). He didn’t apologize. Later the same day, a mother and daughter fought “across” he gym locker room. They yelled swears and insults at each other for everyone to hear. And last night, while having dinner, an entire restaurant couldn’t help but overhear every detail of one man’s personal issues because he was incredibly loud and boisterous while using his cell phone.

 

You’ve been in situations like this before, right? What is it? Is it an etiquette issue? A need for attention?

 

lemons lined up
lemon in bowl

 

Today I visited the post office.

 

The line was long, there was only one window open and you could hear every detail of every conversation with the cashier. The tone was generally rude, grumpy and occasionally angry.

 

Then, a distinguished looking man with a fitted coat and gray hair approached the window. He started with a pleasant “Good morning and how are you today?” There was a brief exchange. We could hear laughter between the man and the postal clerk. He ended with, “It’s been a pleasure to speak with you. I hope you have a wonderful day.”

 

The cashier who just minutes earlier looked tired and annoyed was now smiling and energetic.

 

On his way out, the man held the door for several people who were entering. He smiled at them.

 

The energy of the entire room palpably changed from negative to positive.

 

winters day collage

 

For some reason these scenarios stuck with me. I had the day off so I spent time at the beach, stopped by a cafe and visited a country ski area. I came home and made a lemon creme tart.
Personally, I think manners and etiquette matter. They matter not because I’m worried about what others think, but because having consideration for others makes the world a better place in which to live.

 

That’s what I think anyway. What are your thoughts?

big bitebite of lemon tart

 

By the way, this tart is delicious. I made it with Meyer lemons and a tiny bit of juice from a Bergamot Orange (it’s beautiful and strong). I happened to find the oranges at a local shop and wanted to try them out in the new recipe I was working on. I’ve only used the Bergamot orange but I suspect that you could substitute any citrus, including additional Meyer lemon juice. If you use a substitution, let me know how it works.

 

Creamy Meyer Lemon, Bergamot Orange and Fresh Ricotta Tart

 

Pate Brissee

 

215 g. all purpose flour
35 g. powdered sugar
110 g. cold butter, diced
6-8 tbs. cold water

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 c.)

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix flour with powdered sugar and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. While mixing, gradually add water until the dough holds together. Do not over mix. Flatten the ball into a disc and chill at least 20 minutes.

 

Roll dough out to about 1/8″ thick and line one 8″ tart pan. Dock the dough with a fork. Line with foil, then pie weights. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove and set on wire rack.

 

Filling

 

300 g fresh ricotta cheese
150 g sugar
2 eggs
10 g vanilla extract
2 Meyer lemon rinds, grated
25 g Myer lemon juice
5 g Bergamot orange juice
50 g sour cream
50 g heavy cream
50 g almond powder, sifted
2 drops yellow food coloring
a handful of sliced almonds
Powdered sugar for garnishing
Preheat over to 350 degrees (177 c)

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix ricotta and sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla, lemon rind and citrus juices. Blend in the heavy cream and sour cream. Add the almond powder and mix. To give the tart some color, I mixed in a couple of drops of yellow food coloring.

 

Pour the filling into the tart shell. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake until the center of the tart is set, about 35-40 minutes.

 

Bon appetit!

 

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80 Comments
  1. The tart looks amazing…so creamy and screaming citrus! I too am overly frustrated when manners are lacking in a situation. I can overwhelm me at times. Hope you had a good getaway!

  2. Beautiful post…I loved everything about it. This was my first season baking with Meyer Lemons and I am hooked. It is a perfect time of year to enjoy a fruit that looks like a little bit of sunshine.

  3. This tart looks unbelievably beautiful. The photo makes me clearly imagine the taste and texture (I don’t know if my imagination is right, but I’ll definitely have to find out).

    As someone who works in the service industry, your post resonates. I always find it interesting when people meet at the point of customer and provider of service. Often this creates a barrier where we can forget that the person we are interacting with is more or less the same as we are and we both need to be kind, patient and consider our manners. Lovely post.

  4. I know what you mean about annoying strangers. Pretty much everyone in New York annoys me, especially people who walk way too slow on the street!

    This tart is amazing! Makes me long for summer…

  5. When in doubt… be classy. It amazes me how oblivious people can be.. when I moved to Japan I became more aware, so the culture had a profound affect on me… but I find that being “nice” take less energy than trying to be mean, or rude..my goodness. the women swearing at the kids (in public) is a bit too redneck for me…

    In my own home… I dribble whatever’s down the front of me and talk like a sailor…when I’m out.. I’m aware of others.. the dog on the leash, no apology… the no apology really gets my knickers in a twist..

    When I feel upset or sad about these things… the onus is on them.

  6. Your ricotta citrus tart looks so luscious! I’m glad to see you putting these wonderful seasonal fruits to good use.

    This stuff about etiquette drives me crazy, and sometimes just makes me want to move to a remote region of the world just to avoid such incidences. I can’t believe that someone would allow their dog to jump on you, ruin your coat and not even apologize. Do they not have a conscience?

    It’s beyond me why people are so blasé. I do know one thing, I will make sure that teach my children to be considerate and conscious of their actions and behavior. It all starts somewhere, doesn’t it?

  7. Fabulous post. I also can’t believe that someone would let their dog jump on you. Did you say anything to him? Some of my son’s friends are also unbelievably rude to their parents. When they’re in our house they are well-behaved and polite because we set boundaries. It’s proof that they can behave.

    Thank goodness there are a few gentlemen left, like the man in the post office. what a difference a smile makes.

    Beautiful photographs and recipe too!!

  8. My thoughts? I have just realized that “there are times when people I don’t know drive me crazy”, too! I have worked with people for a few years at a bank and your description has totally matched many situations I have witnessed and how powerful a smile and some kind words can be. Loved reading your post!
    By the way, I made a ricotta tart (I’m not sure if I can call it a tart) just this morning… what a coincidence!
    Yours looks absolutely delicious. I love lemon desserts!

  9. What a brilliant idea to use Meyer lemons in your recipe. Every year I host a potluck dinner where everyone is asked to bring a Meyer lemon dish, from entrees to desserts. Everything has to have Meyer lemons in it. I just know your Creamy Meyer Lemon, Bergamot Orange and Fresh Ricotta Tart recipe will be a big hit.

    Loved your story about the man in the post office. I certainly agree with you about manners and consideration of others making the world a better place.

    Susan

  10. the tart is lovely! i love meyer lemon.

    i think the post office is one of the most notorious places for bad moods and rudeness. i like to approach it as a “we’re all in this together” scenario. it’s the post office, there will be a wait and possible frustrations…no need to exacerbate that, right?

  11. First, and most importantly, the tart looks and sounds wonderful. I can’t get enough citrus these days! As far as manners go, I deal daily with neighbors whom I’ve lived near for years who can’t bring themselves to respond to a simple smile or hello. I persist, except when I give the evil eyebrow to those you’ve described here so well. Loud cell phone conversations are a pet peeve.

  12. I wish I could get my hands on Bergamot Oranges, I have always wanted to taste a fresh one.

    I think that what you said about that man in the post office bringing positive energy to the room is what good manners does for people. Good manners are contagious, when you see someone behaving kindly towards others it puts you in a good mood and makes you want to do the same.

    I think it’s about acknowledging that there are other people in the world besides you and giving them the respect they deserve. Unfortunately people are so focused on themselves they rarely take the time to consider others anymore.

  13. Gorgeous tart… and manners?? Well, you get more flies with sugar. People do blossom…especially those with public jobs (tolls, drivers license, post office etc) and they will do a 180 when you treat them as human beings.

    The only place not to do it is customs… I was told they are suspicious of people who are too nice (and yes, I used to get checked a lot…sad but true… now I am quiet!).

  14. The tart is delicious and the photos are lovely.

    Manners and etiquette seems to be a lost art. Heaven forbid if everyone would slow down the pace in what seems to be getting faster and faster. Take time to be nice to other people, be less demanding, and stop feeling a sense of entitlement. Treat people like you would like to be treated. That’s not so hard, really?!

    Thanks again for the beautiful posting! Enjoy your lovely day!

  15. Confessions- I hear you. It would be great if others would just keep to themselves. I’m definitely not a people pleaser but I do believe in common courtesy. Thanks for the feedback.

  16. you are right. and it bothers me too that manners, respect, and the like are gone. what blows my mind is people not picking up after their dogs. assuming your lawn is safe, neutral territory while theirs is not. so i pick it up and place it on their lawn. they yell at me, i yell at them. it’s madness and i don’t want to keep up with it. so hear you…

  17. El, I’ve noticed that too! When people around me seem to be having a bad day – a smile and a happy cheerful greeting makes them light up and be positive. And your tart certainly adds a lot more positive energy to my morning ;o)

  18. Stunning photographs!! What a beautiful blog!! Enjoyed going through some of your entries as this is my first visit. I am sure coming back for more.

    About manners I second your opinion on how important they are. But these days manners and having etiquettes are deemed very pretentious and formal. But I belong to that old school of thought and nothing impresses me than a guy opening a door for me. So sexy!

  19. Your tart looks fantastic. I think rolling dough is a wonderful way to mull over the events of the day. And in my opinion, it’s not so much about manners, as general consideration, a recognition that other people exist! Like the gentlman at the Post office, we can choose to enjoy other people, and help them enjoy – or we can ignore them, and scream across a crowded locker room.

  20. Lovely photos El…and I agree on the importance of manners, completely. I do have a question….when you say fresh ricotta, do you mean I have to make it from scratch? Thanks!!

  21. How apropo. A few days ago I pulled into a gas station and the pump would not pump the gas I had selected. I went to talk to the clerk who said that pump was out of Super (all my otherwise much loved Suburu is made to run on). When I inquired which pump had super he replied “none”. How about a sign? Or a bag over those pumps saying “Sorry out of order”? I think a slice of Meyer Lemon tart would have made me not care about having to drive across town for gas.

  22. What a beautiful post. Yes, manners matter. The man at the post office was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. It is sad how thoughtless remarks ruin our day when all of us can use a dose of cordiality.

    The tart looks beautiful, we have sabocan(sp) lemons on our tree that may be ripe. This might be a good use for them.

  23. I would want to give that man a hug. 🙂 I have a customer like him. Every time he calls my spirit brightens because I KNOW how lovely he’s going to be. Like the best grandpa ever!! Your tart is wonderful, and I join you in applauding those who truly do make this world a better place just by being in it. 🙂

  24. Great post El, and its not just because this tart looks DELICIOUS but your thoughts on manners are right on. Love the post office story, because you are right, one person can change the mood of an entire room with their positive attitude. Negativity is catchy, but luckily so is being positive!

  25. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Slice- I had to laugh when I read your comment. Did you ever notice that the people who say manners are out of date are those who don’t have any?

    JKM- Oh dear no. Just pick it up from the store!

  26. I could really use a slice of this and a strong espresso right now. Dreamy. Love the choice of citrus and bergamot is one of my faves!

    I am right there with you. Sometimes I feel the same way, usually at 4 pm on the train, or when the post has one clerk. Urr!

  27. Madre mía la blogs buenos y bonitos estoy conociendo esta tarde….jooo al lado vuestro soy una “cocinillas” novata! jajaja……me encanta todo! y ese bocado a la tarta……he sido yo!..si si! se lo he dado yo y me he dejado el resto para luego porque tenía prisa! xDDDD….

    saludos desde Compostela!

    Lamam.

  28. Hey El, manners and etiquette certainly matter to some extent, I think kindness is even more important though. The gentlemen you described was both polite and kind-an excellent combination;-) Oh, and most people will learn the lesson of how important those two virtues are later in life rather than earlier…
    Either way though, your tart looks and sounds awesome! What a stellar combination of flavors.

  29. This tart could change my attitude in a heartbeat! How creamy and delicious-looking it is.

    Some people are totally clueless, I think. When asked ‘how are you’ at the checkout, or the checker says ‘have a good day’, I always try to response in kind to her or him. A little kindness does go a long way.

  30. I think the feeling of being engaged with the world, with life and everyone in it – like that man in the post office – is the true nature of human beings. But stuff happens. People get so caught up in their dramas they lose a sense of grace and consideration. They’re just not paying attention.

    Whenever I see a baby I’m reminded that every person starts out with a pure, joyful soul.

    That tart is a beauty. The filling reminds me of an Italian pastry I grew up with called sfogliatelle, which is filled with a mixture of semolina, sweetened ricotta and lemon.

    And where in the world did you find bergamot?! I thought they were only available fresh in the warm, Mediterranean places I’d love to live in!

  31. Strangers often drive me crazy. It’s mostly little things like you’ve described. The one that gets me the most is people who refuses to hold a door for people behind them. I’m not saying let me through first, just hold it for 3 seconds so that it doesn’t slam in my face.
    I think if everyone behaved like that man at the post office, we would all be much happier and less stressed.
    This tart sounds delicious. I wonder if I could somehow incorporate earl grey tea instead of bergamot oranges.

  32. People drive me crazy sometimes too. I think etiquette and manners are definitely underrated and I really enjoyed reading this post. The lemon pictures you took are divine. I love that little half slice in the bowl. Where did you find that bowl? I’ve been looking for something like that to keep jewelry in! Gorgeous as always El!!!

  33. The tart looks incredible. I love lemon but have never tried the Bergamot orange. Do you recommend looking for them at the market? I like the idea of the exotic flavors!!

  34. I hear ya about the etiquette issue. I love dogs but I do not want them jumping on me with muddy paws, about the mom/children with the screaming and people who talk loudly in restaurants!
    Bless the customer at the post office, manners have been forgotten in this fast-paced society and technology world. Anyway, I love meyer lemons especially in a tart and yours look delicious!

  35. Hi Marie, the Bergamot orange is very strong. Imagine a strong grapefruit with the essence of earl grey. No, I wouldn’t go out of my way to find one. A regular lemon will do just fine. I would simply taste the batter while mixing to see if you think it requires more or less citrus flavor. Thanks for your comment.

  36. Beautiful photos! I was hoping that you included the recipe for this, and viola! Yes!
    I agree with you on people you don’t know can sometimes drive you crazy. There was this one patient yesterday at my periodontist’s office and he’s asking the hygienist many questions which requires only common sense. I just roll my eyes on situations like this. LOL.

  37. God El this is to die for. I hear you on the courtesy issue but think everyone would be much more pleasant surrounded by this dessert! Stunning bella.

  38. You know that old saying about getting more with honey than vinegar…I’ve found it works nearly every time. There are, unfortunately, a lot of angry people out there.

    I hope you won’t mind my poor manners if I pick up a piece of this luscious pie with my fingers?

  39. Another gorgeous and well written post.

    This tart…looks absolutely delicious. I can almost taste it and will soon, as soon as I make it too. 🙂

    I had to laugh at how you started the post. Because it sounded like something I would say also. Sometimes I’m more sensitive to these behaviors of others and sometimes I’m able to let it just roll off. The gentlemen in the postoffice with the infections good nature is a breath of fresh air and brings back hope that there is goodness, afterall. 🙂

  40. I totally agree about getting annoyed with people you don’t know. I sometimes wonder if I would think it was fine if I they were a friend of mine. How are some people so unaware of themselves?
    This tart is definitely enough to change any negative energy into good. I’m bookmarking it now.

  41. This is torture! I had a similar tart in a wonderful restaurant in Florence (Cibreo) and have been tinkering with a recipe. Yours looks perfect but I can only make it for a special occasion because it is so addicting (summer’s coming.) If you ever shop at Russo’s in Watertown, you can find the best ricotta I have ever tasted. It comes in a little white tin on the bottom and is mounded ice-cream cone-fashion on top. It is made in CT by Liuzzi Angenloni. The best alternative to making this tart is to visit your pictures! So lovely.

    p.s. I think New Englanders are just plain cranky (read, rude) at this time of year–spring takes too long to arrive. But there really is no excuse for that kind of behavior. It makes me sad.

  42. 🙂 Sometimes I wonder if I’m turning into a grouch when I get annoyed at people who talk/eat too loudly without a care for the people around them. Glad to see that I’m not alone!

    I love bergamot (Earl Grey is my fav) and am really curious about tasting the actual fruit!

  43. thank you so much for that amazing recipe. did you develop it or do you remember the inspiration?
    i was lucky to get a few meyer lemons and a bergamot here in vienna/austria/europe so i was searching for recipes with both of them. that’s how i found my way to your blog.
    the recipes for dough (very smooth and easy to work) and filling (GREAT!) are superb. the only thing i want to remark is that the pre-baking time is way too short for me. but that’s peanuts in relation to the taste of the whole thing.
    a different question would be how much lemon (and maybe orange) juice and zest you would recommend if someone doesn’t get meyer lemons and bergamots.
    unfortunately meyer lemons are not available in europe (and bergamots only in italy). (i got mine from here http://www.esskultur.at/index.php/2011/09/18/heureka-schoenbrunner-gold/)

  44. Oh, wow, this looks so good! I have a bowlful of meyers from a friend’s tree. Just made a meyer lemon buttermilk pie, but this looks exquisite, especially with the addition of bergamot. Saw this posted on pinterest, and am so glad to have found your beautiful site!

  45. Yum! I have just made this pie and it’s cooking in the oven, smells delicious! I used saffron instead of food coloring, also to add some more flavor as I could not find bergamot orange.

  46. Any way to get the ingredients converted from Metric to ounces and cups and tablespoons, etc? This sounds sooooooooooooooo awesome but cannot make it using grams ??? help.

    1. Hi Anna,

      I struggled with this in earlier posts. Now I try to post both cups and grams (unless I’m having a really busy week at work). Unfortunately, I simply don’t have time to go back and re-measure every recipe. If I make it again, I’ll be happy to update it and let you know.

      1. Hi Anna!
        I have a hard time with this aspect of baking and cooking too! But if you buy a food scale from a local supply store, you can measure your ingredients by weight in grams really easily! I am sure Amazon even sells them. It makes it a heck of a lot easier to use recipes from outside the US. Good luck!

  47. Great tart mine would have needed some adjustments: would have needed more pre-baking as
    the crust came out very undercooked with 20 min pre-cooking at 375F and would have preferred a bit more citrus. I used hazelnut flour as that was handy so maybe that was too overpowering.

    1. Thanks for the input. Every oven is a bit different so cooking times need to be closely watched. Maybe the hazelnut flour overpowered the citrus? We thought ours was fairly tart but everyone has their own view on that- good to taste and adjust as you go along. Thanks again for sharing!

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