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Lemon tian for the March Daring Baker challenge

March 27, 2010

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

Its 11:30 on the reveal date for the March Daring Baker challenge and I’m typing up my post and wrestling with a bad computer connection.  After a long day taking photos with Noerah I’d much rather go to sleep… but a blogger’s work is never done, so here I am!

This month’s challenge recipe was for orange tian: a pastry/caramel/orange/whipped cream desert which hostess Jennifer demonstrated as beautifully as you would expect from looking at her blog.  And yet, when I read the recipe for my heart sank a little.  For one thing, I hate anything with gelatin… I just don’t like foods that wobble in my mouth.  And on top of that I am not a big fan of oranges in baked goods.

So I decided to modify the recipe until I got excited about making it.  First, since a tian seems to be any recipe that is presented in layers I realised I could add layers and it would just become more tianesque.  I added a layer of luscious lemon mousse which has a great sweet lemon tang (like lemon curd but light and creamy).  I did all the other parts of the challenge with modifications as noted: the pate sable cookies were topped with a lemon curd, then the lemon mousse and then the layer of stabilized cream.  I used the caramel for designs on the plate, a good excuse for licking it clean.  And the segmented lemons were mostly a garnish since I think I am one of the few people who like to eat plain lemon.

At the end of the day I did not change my mind about the stabilized cream and if I ever made this again it would be the pastry and the lemon mousse topped with fresh whipped cream instead.  What I was happy about though was the presentation: I used cans from coconut milk for the molds to create the extra verticality of the little desserts which turned out quite theatrically!  I was convinced they would never unmould but when I took the frozen cans out of the freezer I just warmed the outside of the can with a hot cloth and then ran a knife round the inside and they popped out beautifully.


–By Talia

29 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2010 2:42 am

    Wow what an amazing idea. Looks stunning.

  2. March 28, 2010 9:16 am

    You like to eat plain lemon? Wow! Good job on the challenge – I like your skyscraper tians! If you don’t like gelatin, you can use agar-agar. I used it for the marmalade and to stabilize the whipped cream.

    • March 28, 2010 9:19 am

      Thanks. I should try the agar-agar. I’m curious about the consistency the cream would have then.

  3. March 28, 2010 11:49 am

    The presentation is very eye catching. Great job!

  4. March 28, 2010 12:38 pm

    Ohhh lemon tian looks great! I was curious about the gelatine in the whipped cream – and I liked it, but (though I don’t eat it very often) I don’t mind gelatin desserts. Using a can as a mold is a great idea! I went with the “family size” since I couldn’t really come up with any ideas for bite size molds… I do like how yours are towers, and the photographing is lovely too!

    • March 28, 2010 6:39 pm

      I now have a half dozen small tall cans, so if you think of other uses for them…! I always think if I make smaller deserts I’ll eat less: alas, I just go through a number of them at a time!

  5. March 28, 2010 3:50 pm

    Nice variations… I really like the curd and mousse idea. Probably adding a lemon marmalade would have been awesome too (if you like marmalade). I love the super-tall one ❤

    Congrats on the challenge!

    • March 28, 2010 6:36 pm

      Thanks Debora: I was worried about the marmalade being too bitter: the truth is I’m just a sucker for sweetness!

  6. March 28, 2010 5:58 pm

    Yummm… Lemon mousse sounds heavenly! Your tian looks so beautiful, too, as all of the layers, and the colors of each, really compliment each other so well. Excellent job on the challenge!

    • March 28, 2010 6:35 pm

      Thanks Shelley! The mousse was delicious, I like a mix of tart and sweet, and would make a great treat even on its own… though you wouldn’t be able to play with the colors!

  7. March 28, 2010 8:56 pm

    You must win the award for tallest tian! They look so lovely and elegant. I toyed with the idea of doing lemon curd too, but went for marmalade in the end. I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t now! Your combination of lemon curd, mousse and the cream sounds like bliss. I can just imagine how delicious it is.

    • March 29, 2010 5:17 pm

      Thanks Suz! I didn’t even think about marmalade really: I’m a sucker for lemon curd… I’m thinking I’ll use the leftovers on some grilled asparagus.

  8. March 28, 2010 9:40 pm

    loved all the tweaks you’ve made to the recipe and the use of cans as molds.. 🙂
    sorry to hear that you did not like stabilized whipped cream..

    • March 29, 2010 5:18 pm

      Thanks Natalie: it was such an easy recipe to tweak given all the separate parts! as for the whipped cream: I eat plenty of cream so i think its ok if i don’t find another way to enjoy it!!

  9. March 28, 2010 10:31 pm

    Very nice! Anything with lemon curd is great, and I love that you coined a new word (tianessque)!

    • March 29, 2010 5:19 pm

      Thanks Mary: who would have thought that a month ago I didn’t know what a tian was!!

  10. March 28, 2010 10:42 pm

    This sounds great: anything with lemon is delicious. Nice presentation too!

  11. March 29, 2010 2:33 am

    This is so clever! They kind of look like two buildings side by side. I love that you used cans as molds, and the lemon mousse sounds really tasty.

    • March 29, 2010 7:35 am

      I guess you can’t stop being an architect even after you get out of the office and into the kitchen!

  12. Sarah permalink
    March 29, 2010 9:07 pm

    oh! they are so beautiful – they look delicious.

    by the way: i have my first jar of preserved lemons ‘preserving’ on a shelf….

    • March 29, 2010 9:10 pm

      Thanks Sarah.
      And I am SO glad about the lemons! you’ll be a fully fledged canner in no time at all!

  13. March 29, 2010 9:50 pm

    Those look beautiful and the lemon mousse sounds divine! Great job!

  14. April 4, 2010 9:07 am

    I’m glad you liked my challenge! I’m not a gelatin lover either to tell you the truth, but it really makes it easier for the whipped cream to stay in place.. you can definitely make it without though. I love that you used lemon, the end-result looks beautiful!

    • April 5, 2010 4:44 pm

      Thanks and thanks for the challenge and for visiting: you must have seen so many tians by now!! Definitely easier to make the cream behave this way you are right!


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