Lemon Mascarpone Brulee with Cherry Compote

Lemon Mascarpone Brulee with Cherry Compote recipe from cherryteacakes.com
What does $700 mean to you? It could be rent, it could be a stinking nice car payment, or maybe it's what you spend on dining a month.  Now....if your landlord called out of the blue and said "hey, I haven't raised the rent in three years, I was thinking of raising it $700 a month." that $700 would mean choking, crying, and sudden onset depression. A 30% rent hike? Wow.

My landlord did this. Yesterday.

I love my house. You've seen the pictures when I've thrown parties. I am more than happy that he hasn't raised the rent on us in the three years and considered that a fair trade for the sake that he never fixes anything either.....this rent hike however puts me into some deep future plans re-evaluation.

My current life plan was that my life would stay exactly as it is for another two years. Then, with my "buoyed" savings account, I would relocate to the southern city of my choosing, live on my savings for a few months while I looked for work and blogged and baked my heart out......

Now my plan is to just figure out what on earth to do if we can't talk the landlord into a reasonable rent hike. Stay in DC? Try to find housing that isn't more than half my pay? Leave DC MUCH sooner than I planned? Start a new career in a new city? Which city? Should I move into my mother's cabin in the mountains for a few months and allow myself to fully indulge in this unforseen breakdown? Yes, that is how much I love my house. I can't imagine living in DC without it.

I used to live in a HOLE of an apartment in Foggy Bottom that I paid way too much money for, was near nothing, and thus made me spend as much time out of it as possible. That's my option. If you have to find housing in 30 or 90 days in DC it ain't going to be pretty or you're going to pay out your ears. I hear rumors of cheap places around $1000 a month with parking four blocks from work. I also hear five year old girls say unicorns exist.

So, I'm in the market for life plans, and in lieu of them I'm baking comfort food. This is a two to three day dessert. Day one make some mascarpone, day two make the filling and the shells, day three combine everything else.  In some ways, this is great. Less work per day, quick and easy. On the other hand, it takes forethought, but it's worth it...good things take time, find good places to live takes significantly more. Oh, life, you tricky devil.


Lemon Mascarpone Brulee with Cherry Compote

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tspn lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 cup of your freshly made mascarpone
6 tablespoons heavy cream

1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cherries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar

To make Mascarpone:
Heat cream in saucepan until small bubble form at edge (do not boil!), add lemon juice and leave on the heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. If the cream hasn't thickened return to heat and add more lemon juice.

Place a sieve over a bowl, line the sieve with cheesecloth. Pour the mix into the sieve. Place in fridge and allow to drain overnight.

To make Tart Shells: 
Preheat oven to 400F.

In a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, kosher salt, cream and vanilla, until mixture is moist and crumbly.

Press dough into four 4-inch tart pans (or one 9 or 10 inch tart pan) and press it up the sides, making sure the layer on the bottom is even.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is set and firm at the edges. Cool, and store in an airtight container until use. 

Make filling:
In a heavy saucepan combine butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, and remove pan from heat. In a bowl whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until thick and pale. Add hot butter mixture in a stream, whisking constantly, and transfer to pan. Cook mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick and just beginning to boil. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl and stir in zest. Cool lemon mixture completely, its surface covered with buttered wax paper, and chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together mascarpone and cream until thick and smooth. Fold in 1 1/2 cups lemon mixture, reserving remainder for another use, until combined well.

Divide filling among shells, smoothing tops. Chill tarts, loosely covered, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Make sauce:
Throw all sauce ingredients into a sauce pan. Cook until desired constancy is reached.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon superfine sugar evenly over each tart and caramelize with a blowtorch, moving flame evenly back and forth over sugar until melted and caramelized, about 30 seconds.

Serve tarts with cherry sauce.