The arrival of spring immediately brings to mind one of fruit, lemon. While citrus is a winter fruit, I can't help but correlate the tart and crisp flavors of lemon to spring. It's refreshing, and March is all about hitting refresh on your daily routines. The layers of clothing slowly come off, the sun doesn't disappear after 4pm, and the warm weather is energizing. Once I learned how to make lemon curd, I was hooked. The combination of eggs, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and butter is tangy, citrusy, and delicious. To highlight one of my favorite flavors, this dessert is a play on a lemon meringue tart. It is made with lemon curd, shortbread shell, meringue crisps, yogurt with blood orange juice, and fresh figs. Just imagine a creamy and citrusy curd, with a buttery tart shell, crispy and crunchy meringue, tangy yogurt, sweet blood orange juice, and a ripe fresh fig. Separately, they're good. But together all the components add up to a light and refreshing dessert perfect for the arrival of spring.
Petit fours can make or break a person's restaurant experience. When VIP's, friends, and guests come to eat, the last impression is dessert. I like to leave a big impression with a small bite, and I do that with petit fours. After a large meal and many courses, people tend to want a small bite to satiate their sweet tooth. Usually guests can look forward to chocolates, macarons, or pate de fruit as an ending, but I thought it would be nice to try something different. Why not mini tarts and cream puffs? While not exactly ground breaking, I like playing with familiar flavors and making them bite-sized. First is a smores tart with a graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache, and toasted meringue. After is a lemon meringue tart with a vanilla crust, lemon curd, toasted meringue, and citrus tuile. Next is all chocolate with a chocolate crust, chocolate ganache, cocoa nib streusel, and Valrhona crunchy pearls. Last but not least is a salted caramel cream puff topped with a generous pour of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of caramelized hazelnuts. Small bites with a bang.