egg-white aerated lime tart filling that didn't set

The recipe is Simone Beck's. There is no gelatin. Yolks were beaten with sugar to "ribbon" stage to which is added lime juice/zest, and cream. Stiff egg whites are then added and it bakes at 375 for 15-18 minutes at which point it is supposed to be slightly puffed. It's then dusted with confectioners' which carmelizes after about 4 minutes at 425.

My oven is new and very accurate. I ended up keeping the tart in the oven for 25 minutes or more and it was still very liquid though it did rise. I put it in the fridge after the carmelization with the hope that it was to set in the fridge. It wasn't set hours later, but appeared to be the next day after which I froze it for several days. I removed it and immediately drove with it for 55 minutes in a car with the AC on low. The filling was mushy when I arrived (though very tasty).

Would like to identify the culprit. The freezing? The car ride? I'm inclined to think there was a problem before I put it in the oven which would explain why it was so liquidy. I'm quite sure I used cream that I'd just brought into the house from the grocery. Maybe it wasn't cold enough. Or maybe it really is important to add the sugar slowly as you make a ribbon with egg yolks. I think I added mine at once. Btw, I did her "apple tart for Jim." Very tasty yet very easy because the apples are grated.



alng4768 March 30, 2013
unlike a lemon tart, there was no heating of the juice, sugar, yolks, cream. they are just beaten and it is thick. i won't promise i'll do it again within 2 weeks, but there's a good chance and i'll give an update when i do get to it. i'll be more careful to have the right ingredient temperatures. i'll start checking it earlier to see if it's setting up. if it's still very liquidy, maybe i'll take it out at the maximum time given and then let it set up in the fridge. and I won't freeze it. That could definitely be a big problem. The recipe says nothing about it having to set up in the fridge. If that's the secret, it should be stated. Thanks for your thoughts.
boulangere March 30, 2013
First, when whipping sugar and yolks to a ribbon (you're basically making a sabayon), it's fine to add the sugar all at once. I tend to whip it to a serious ribbon - more rather than less, in other words. You want the sugar to dissolve in what water there is in the yolks, and you want to incorporate significant amounts of air. With the whites, on the other hand I tend toward the softer end of whipping them. Also, any sugar added to them should be added verrrrrry slowly - a tablespoon at a time. I whip them only to soft peak stage. At that point, they incorporate much more easily and, this is the important part, with significantly less folding, thus with less loss of air volume in either the whites or the sabayon. If you do all of those steps just right, the tart should puff nicely in the oven because of all the lovely air in it. The fact that it hadn't done so within the suggested baking time tells me that the problem likely lay in your air in either the sabayon, the whites, or both. Chris is correct that this is exactly how a classic chiffon pie is prepared without gelatin. Hats off to you for taking it on, and I hope you'll persevere! It's a wonderful method to master, and once you do, you'll be thinking of all sorts of flavor combinations.
Greenstuff March 30, 2013
Okay, I found the recipe. You are right, it's not a souffle, but more like what we called lemon (or lime) chiffon when I was a child, essentially like a lemon or meringue pie, except you blend the meringue into the tart instead of using it as a topping. I would guess that your error came in cooking the lime juice, etc. down to that "ribbon stage," that perhaps you did not let it thicken enough. Do you think that was the mistake?

Later, I don't think a tart like this one should have been frozen. It looks like it could have been refrigerated fine for a few days, and if you kept it cool, it could have been transported.
alng4768 March 30, 2013
This is from her book "Food Friends." It's called a tart. It says you can serve it warm or cold. and it says "slightly puffed" whereas a souffle' would be more than that. I really can't envision the texture. I forgot to add that another factor could be the temperature of the eggs. I'm quite sure they weren't room temp but they beat up plenty high. And besides, I don't know why it became so watery. Maybe I should have baked it less rather than more than the indicated time? I might just have to do it again.
Greenstuff March 30, 2013
It sounds like any number of things that could have been a problem. I looked and don't have her recipe. But your beginning description sound much like a souffle. If so, you should have eaten it right away rather than putting it through all the other steps you mentioned. Can you give us a reference?
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