27 Aug2011

For the last 10 years or so, I have been drawn to Tarte au Citron or lemon tart whenever it appeared on a restaurant menu. I love the juxtaposition between the sweet, crumbly crust and the intense sweet/sour filling. I have made a couple of such tarts before, but I am forever on the lookout for recipes which look brilliant and taste wonderful. And let me say, there are LOTS of seriously bad lemon tarts out there that ruin it for casual dabblers. Thomas Keller has an appealing recipe in his Bouchon cookbook, and I had been meaning to try it for a while, when I suddenly found myself with an abundance of dayap or limes…

…so the idea and base recipe is Mr. Keller’s, but the the several changes are mine. Instead of a pine nut crust, I decided to try making a roasted pili nut crust with fresh vanilla beans. Instead of a lemon sabayon filling, I made a dayap filling, and followed the instructions to broil the crust to this beautiful “bruleed” effect.

I made enough dough for three medium sized (6-7 inch) tart pans (with leftover dough for yet another tart which you can store in the freezer). To make, roast and cool some freshly picked pili nuts and add 3 cups worth into a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and blitz this for a few seconds until a coarse meal… Pili nuts have a VERY HIGH fat content, perhaps even more than macadamia nuts, so I thought it might be a good stand-in for pine nuts… with the added benefit of a distinctly filipino flavor profile.

Add four cups of all purpose flour and blitz a bit more until the nuts are finely ground and transfer to a mixer, add 12 ounces of softened butter, 2 medium sized eggs and the intense contents of a fresh vanilla bean (not the skin, just the vanilla paste inside) and mix until the ingredients are all incorporated and you have a dampish dough.

Divide your dough into four pieces (in this case, roughly 225 grams per portion), wrap in plastic cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before using. Butter and flour your pans and refrigerate until ready to bake the tart shells. Take the dough out of the fridge, and press into your tart pans with removable bottoms until you have an even crust all over, see photo above. I ALWAYS make the crust too thick, thinking a thinner one won’t hold up. So avoid the tendency to do this. For this sized pan, 200 grams of dough should be sufficient for the size of the pictured pan. Oddly, with this pili nut crust, I liked the crust so much I was happy it was a bit thicker than usual. :)

Blind bake (meaning without any filling in it) the crusts for roughly 10-12 minutes in a 350F oven, until they are lightly golden… Notice how the edges are quite even in the baked tart shell above, but a little thicker than usual.

Next the filling. A bit of a kili-kili sweat generator, but I promise you TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT. Repeat, TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT. :) There are several ways to make the filling, but this “sabayon method” yields spectacular results. You will need 3 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks, 1 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar, 3/4 cup of dayap juice and 9 tablespoons of unsalted butter.

Prepare a double boiler and bring the water up to a gentle boil. In a metal bowl whose base will fit nicely on top of your double boiler, whisk together your eggs, yolks, and sugar until very smooth. Place the bowl on top of the double boiler, and whisk the mixture constantly (and turning the bowl for even cooking) until the mixture has thickened slightly. You will start to feel beads of sweet in your armpits and start questioning if Marketman has lost his marbles. Add 1/3 of the dapap juice and whisk vigorously and when the mixture thickens, add another third and so on. Keep whisking and by now you will have switched hand a couple of times and your wrists will be complaining. The total cooking time should be around 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, take the bowl off and place it on a kitchen counter, whisk in the butter until you have a smooth but curdly-textured sabayon. It will thicken as it cools. At this point, pour the warm mixture into your pre-baked tart shells and place them under the broiler of your oven and carefully watch them and rotate to get a nice even browning of the top crust. Remove the tart and let it rest for at least two hours before serving. It’s great served at room temperature, but I have to admit, I like it the next day served COLD straight out of the fridge, with a cup or two of good tea.

The dayap tart joined two other desserts at the birthday dinner. The chocolate cake with a caramel and dark chocolate icing was made by the teen. It was superb without being overly rich. We also had a large apple pie for those who wanted some fruit…

The dayap tart was amazing. I wish I had access to fresh dayap all year round. This is a perfect example of western techniques but using local ingredients that results in something really good…

Need I type more? :)



  1. Scramoodles says:

    So scrumptiously tart and nutty and crisp looking! what a golden beauty :)

    Aug 27, 2011 | 10:31 am


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  3. Bijin says:

    How did the pili nut crust taste?

    Aug 27, 2011 | 10:41 am

  4. greens_blossoms says:

    “kili-kili sweat generator”…hahahaha…reading through the baking process, I can imagine the armpits sweating…but that pie looks YUMMY, sweat and all :-) …btw just wanted to share with you that youngest son now in Sydney for “stage” for a week in Quay restaurant…

    Aug 27, 2011 | 10:42 am

  5. flip4ever says:

    Coincidentally, Thomas Keller has used pili nuts at the French Laundry…would be interesting to know how he came across them.

    Aug 27, 2011 | 10:54 am

  6. Kron says:

    I firmly believe we have plenty of local ingredients that would lend well to western techniques to create dishes that would be familiar to westerners but still unique and different enough so as not to warrant the “Just another ____ dish/recipe” tagline. And the sad part is that Filipinos are only just beginning to appreciate all these foodstuffs and materials too. Any chance of you opening an offshoot of Zubuchon that will feature pastries and such in the near future, MM? :P I’d be your first customer :D

    Aug 27, 2011 | 12:00 pm

  7. calorie-shmalorie says:

    MM, wouldnt a hand held mixer or immersion blender work in place of all the hand whisking?

    Aug 27, 2011 | 1:18 pm

  8. KUMAGCOW says:

    My first guess was right, well close.. it was like key lime pie… just without the usual things on top of it.. :) Nangangasim nako just with the pictures.. :)

    Aug 27, 2011 | 1:23 pm

  9. millet says:

    want! Want! Want! Am a sucker for anything citrus.

    Aug 27, 2011 | 1:28 pm

  10. krissy says:

    Just made a meyer lemon tart for company. Tasted good but lacked something. Now I know. Rind curls and a caramelized top. Would trade meyer lemons and almond meal for dayap and pili nut tart crust anytime! Happy birthday MM!

    Aug 27, 2011 | 1:30 pm

  11. corrine says:

    *drool* This looks like a fantastic recipe. Your guests are so lucky to have this dessert. Thanks for sharing! I also pine for all year round supply of dayap.

    Aug 27, 2011 | 1:38 pm

  12. Eileen says:

    The dayap tart looks yummy!

    Aug 27, 2011 | 2:33 pm

  13. Mandy says:

    Oh my, it looks really delicious!! :)

    Aug 27, 2011 | 2:53 pm

  14. ian says:

    Beautiful tart MM, ive made the same tart using thomas kellers recipe and its brilliant!. Another recipe you should also try is Marco Pierre Whites version…(its actually La Gavroches) recipe. try it. Enjoy the Dayaps!

    Aug 27, 2011 | 3:16 pm

  15. karen says:

    Delicious desserts!!! MM, do you mind sharing the recipe for the caramel/dark chocolate icing that the teen made? Thanks!

    Aug 27, 2011 | 3:23 pm

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Looks simply delish! This lemon tart recipe will certainly go into my recipe box. To try one of these days! I really like the French name too! :)

    Aug 27, 2011 | 3:41 pm

  17. docgelo says:

    wow, the use of roasted pili nut crust on pie, i think is just innovative and fresh! parang ang sarap! :)

    Aug 27, 2011 | 5:50 pm

  18. Footloose says:

    I am an easy target too for anything with lemon flavor and acidity in it. I think those strictly dolled out Señorita lemon drops from my distant youth have something to do with it. Nowadays, a truly tart lemon square can turn the trick for me.

    Aug 27, 2011 | 8:21 pm

  19. Footloose says:

    And oh, just as well that you ventured away from Keller’s recipe calling for pine nuts. Pine nuts that are easily available nowadays come from China. They may contain pine nuts of a certain type of pine that can wreak havok on your taste buds. They can trigger a tasting disorder called cacogeusia that literally leaves a bitter taste in the mouth for weeks on end.

    Aug 27, 2011 | 11:07 pm

  20. shalimar says:

    Did I win something for guessing you made a dayap tart ;-) very interesting … and best wishes from `Lesbos Greece the isle where most of the ouzo are made.

    Aug 28, 2011 | 2:32 am

  21. natie says:

    @Footloose: cacogeusia would be helpful if one needs to lose some weight—i’d pop a few of those pine nuts if the appetite’s hard to control. especially if faced with something like those tarts, or my favorite: key lime pie.

    Aug 28, 2011 | 6:44 am

  22. Betchay says:

    This looks easy—only hard part is preventing the eggs from curdling but not with your fool proof “kili-kili sweat generator”….ha!ha!ha! You are really funny MM. Cann’t wait for dayap fruits in our garden to mature so I can try doing this. No access to pili nuts…can I use cashew nuts or walnuts instead?

    Aug 28, 2011 | 10:26 am

  23. DJ says:

    Mr. MM, this really looks and tastes delicious! I thought there was no more dayap around. when i was young, i remember the citrus fruit grows abundantly in our place and we often use them for our leche flans. the smell of dayap reminds me of my youth …

    Aug 28, 2011 | 10:40 am

  24. millet says:

    MM, did you have to put beans or weights on the crust when you baked it?

    Aug 28, 2011 | 10:43 am

  25. sister says:

    No flour?

    Aug 28, 2011 | 2:40 pm

  26. april says:

    That’s really scrumptious…mouthwatering!

    Aug 28, 2011 | 4:14 pm

  27. britelite says:

    was it me or your site was busted last nite?swaab keeps on popping up..

    Aug 29, 2011 | 9:25 am

  28. Ruth B says:

    MM, this tart looks awesome. Hope you will offer this in your resto, the citrusy flavor may be a perfect foil to the richness of the pork-y menu.

    Off topic MM. We just had dinner in your Escario branch last night, part of the celebration for our son’s birthday. It was all as we expected it to be. Great food!!! Other than the lechon,we especially enjoyed the dinuguan, much like my Mom used to cook, the monggo soup with chicharon bits and the kamias shake. We washed down the food with a bottle of Porcupine Ridge sauvignon blanc, another surprise find in your resto. Very good, value for money food + attentive and knowledgeable crew = successful business. Kudos to you, MM!

    Aug 29, 2011 | 9:28 am

  29. bearhug0127 says:

    MM, off topic. Glad your site is up again. Last night, at around 6:30 pm, Manila time, i could not access your site. “Swaab” something comes up when i click your sit and there was not a trace of merketmanila. Got really worried. This morning, i tried again, and was glad to see the message, “MarketManila will be back soon”. Really glad, your site is back. Thank you.

    Aug 29, 2011 | 9:46 am

  30. mojito drinker says:


    Aug 29, 2011 | 10:04 am

  31. natie says:

    Glad your blog’s back, MM…i thought you got hacked :-O

    Aug 29, 2011 | 12:20 pm

  32. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    It seems Marketmanila got hacked last night.

    Aug 29, 2011 | 12:50 pm

  33. melanie says:

    Whew! I thought I was the only one getting “swaab”…thought something was wrong with my computer but when I got into other blogs, then I feared something had gone wrong with your blog, MM! Good to have you back!

    Aug 29, 2011 | 1:34 pm

  34. Hazel says:

    I got swaabed too yesterday! Can’t wait for MM’s post on this.

    Aug 29, 2011 | 2:09 pm

  35. Lambchop says:

    It looks divine! And the teen’s chocolate cake looked so decadent and delectable. Mmmm!! Yum yum!!!

    Aug 29, 2011 | 2:10 pm

  36. MP says:

    So we all got swaabed yesterday…. Isn’t Swaab one of those hedge funds thingy? Anyhow, glad your site is back MM – that unfortunate incident made me realize I’m seriously addicted to it.

    Did you have to weigh down the pie crust when you baked it? Would the Teen mind sharing the recipe of that delectable chocolate cake (+ icing)?

    Aug 29, 2011 | 4:46 pm

  37. obot says:

    oh how i miss your site MM. I realized why i love your site very much. aside from the fact that the entries are interesting and educational, your site is also clean. I mean, clean from ads and whatnot, not like the other “commercialized” sites. the page is just pleasing to the eyes. please dont get ‘swaabed’ again

    Aug 29, 2011 | 6:42 pm

  38. satomi says:

    MM can I use almond meal in place of the pine or pili nuts?

    Aug 29, 2011 | 10:12 pm

  39. Rochelle says:

    yey! MM you’re back! I thought you’re gone forever :(( I got swaabed too :(
    and when I googled you, can’t even find you there too :(..Phew! glad that is all over now, don’t ever leave us again MM :)

    Aug 30, 2011 | 1:30 am

  40. natie says:

    yeah, be careful of those hackers, MM—we’ll be having real fierce withdrawal syndrome if our MM-fix is not met..

    MP, that hedge fund is Schwaab.. :-> i thought MM was peddling stocks too, hehe

    Aug 30, 2011 | 4:24 am

  41. Footloose says:

    Schwab was one of Andrew Carnegie’s minions. Swab has something to do with an OB-Gyne screening test, I think.

    Aug 30, 2011 | 5:20 am

  42. Connie C says:

    Swabbing can mean applying or removing material from a surface as to swab a specimen for study as in throat swab or other body part or surface swab….from the use of a piece of absorbent material at the tip of a small wood or metal rod… a cotton swab.

    But MM’s blog got swaabbed out of its site causing distress among some regulars.

    Aug 30, 2011 | 7:55 am

  43. Footloose says:

    This zabaglione filling would be an airier improvement over the sometimes pasty or over rich citrus curd used as filling for tart though admittedly requiring a stronger arm. The ones served in Italian restaurants are crustless and a lot runnier. I love them not for the froth and bubble but for the sweet wine they fortify it with, Marsala, Moscato d’Asti and sometimes even Malmsey from Santorini, the sacramental wine of the Greek Orthrodox church. Reminds me of eggnog.

    A set of dedicated saucepans marketed as double boilers are impractical to use for this kind of preparation, specially if the bottom of the top vessel has hard-to-reach corners. I have been using a makeshift one out of a hemispherical bowl fitted over a smaller pan of water. Steady and safe but above all, the open bowl is quite accessible to a balloon whip and easy to scrape clean with a silicon spatula.

    Aug 30, 2011 | 8:49 am

  44. Jim says:

    any missing ingredients here?

    Aug 30, 2011 | 10:18 am

  45. Marketman says:

    ARRGH, my BAD! I left out the flour (4 cups) from the dough. Apologies to anyone who tried the recipe with that important ingredient left out. Recipe has been adjusted. Footloose, I usually take one of several stainless bowls and just rest it over a pot of boiling water… works every time… satomi, yes, almonds would probably work as well… sister, thanks, yup, forgot the flour, millet, no weights necessary, the dough is quite heavy… betchay almonds or walnuts probably better than cashews…

    Aug 30, 2011 | 11:36 am

  46. betty q. says:

    Yeah…Footloose…I much prefer the frothy sabayon, too. I make a very easy dessert using it without the use of MM’s kili-kili power…not good for rotator cuff injury/surgery! ….poured over summer berries in a shallow dessert bowl and then gratineed!…MMMMMM esp. served warm and eaten with lengua de gato!

    Aug 30, 2011 | 2:35 pm

  47. MP says:

    Thanks Natie…. you can tell I’m not into stocks & hedge funds – although I am familiar with Andrew Carnegie (hmmm didn’t realize the connection until Footloose mentioned it).

    ConnieC, distress indeed…. My hubby asked why I sounded so distressed when I kept asking him to check (from his work internet account) if he could access MM’s site..

    Aug 30, 2011 | 10:14 pm

  48. Pam says:

    Thanks for sharing this, MM! Feels like it’s my birthday with this delicious stuff you shared with your readers! Happy birthday!

    Aug 31, 2011 | 2:54 pm

  49. foodie says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. Looks good. Does it have to be key lime or will regular lime work. I saw on one of your posts that dayap is key lime. Thanks.

    Jan 6, 2012 | 7:15 am


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