I was in Nice, a charming city located in the south of France, on the famous Côte d’Azur, known for its breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches of a blue never seen before by this carioca, and rich cultural heritage. The city is also famous for its delicious cuisine, formed by the opportune geographical combination between Provence, southern France, and the Mediterranean Sea, which offers us a surprising explosion of flavors.
Nice’s typical dishes are a delight for food lovers. Ratatouille is a vegetable-based dish of zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, and is served as a main course or side dish. The socca, a pancake made from chickpea flour and olive oil, is a local specialty that is not to be missed. My daughter and I did not miss this tip. We bought it at a little stall with a long line right on the street market, among flowers and Sicilian lemons.
The Niçoise salad is a delicious mix of lettuce, tuna, eggs, tomatoes, onions, and olives, and is one of the most popular dishes in town. Another dish that locals love is the Pissaladière, a pizza made with caramelized onions, olives, and anchovies. And if you are a fan of seafood, try the Bouillabaisse, a fish stew served with a tomato and herb sauce.
In addition to delicious food, Nice is also known for its fantastic food markets, such as the Cours Saleya, where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, cheeses, and more. The markets also offer the opportunity to sample local dishes and interact with the traders, who are always willing to share stories and recipes.
Local wines, such as Rosé de Provence, are a popular choice to accompany these delicacies. And don’t forget to try Nice’s famous herbal liqueur, known as “Pastis”. It is a refreshing drink that is perfect for a warm spring or summer evening.
Nice will please the most discerning palates. For those who love gastronomy, you will surely love exploring the city and trying all the local dishes and drinks that Nice has to offer.
The Sicilian lemon is everywhere in the city, be it on fabrics, advertisements, in desserts, drinks, and café windows, and there is even a specialized lemon store, which unfortunately we did not have time to enter. The Tarte au Citron was in our eyes twice in the window, but I passed it up in favor of a Croque Monsieur with truffles.
To redeem myself, I will make a classic French Sicilian lemon tart, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
NOTICE: for this recipe you will need a culinary thermometer for syrups, which is quite affordable, and a scale for culinary use. I recommend: https://anacunhabusch.com/Metalthermometer
We chose the Sablée dough which is very crunchy and not too sweet. Sable means sand in French, alluding to its appearance. Sablage is when we mix the butter with the dry ingredients, wheat, and almond flour.
Tarte au Citron (Lemon Tart)
The pie is made in 3 layers:
100 grams of chilled butter
40 grams of almond flour
200 grams of wheat flour
40 grams eggs
100 grams of icing sugar
In the bowl of the mixer, put the well-chilled butter, in pieces, sift the flour and add them to the bowl. Preferably use a paddle whisk in the mixer, at low speed, especially if the beater is a common one, we just want the butter to be broken up and mixed with the other ingredients, forming a sandy mass. You don’t need to beat too much so as not to heat the butter.
Sift the icing sugar and mix in the 40g of eggs, which would be one small egg in a separate bowl, and mix well.
Stop the mixer and add these two ingredients.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and make a ball with the dough using the heat of your hand. This happens quickly.
Open a cooking plastic bag or a non-stick paper bag and fold it in two. Place the dough in half and fold it like an envelope.
Choose a shape and start to open the dough more or less in this format with the rolling pin on top of the plastic to avoid sticking. Remember to pass a little of the diameter of the form, considering the height of the form’s wall. Always pass the roller in the opposite direction to your body and turn the plastic over when you need it on the counter. Make it 3 mm thick, more or less. Leave a good margin to spare.
Put it in the refrigerator for half an hour to 40 minutes, so that it can be formed more easily on a straight plate.
Make the molding of the rim or the fitting of the dough into the mold, paying attention to make sure the edges are not thick. Remove the excess dough with a small knife and lightly mark the edge all around with your fingers, the so-called chiqueté method. Prick the dough with a fork. Cut a piece of baking paper that covers the whole bottom and place something heavy on it so that the dough does not puff up, it can be pebbles or beans separated for this function, 1 cm more or less for their thickness on the paper, on the dough.
Bake at 170 degrees for half an hour to 40 minutes. The pie should be lightly browned.
When it’s warm to cold, heat a piece of noble white chocolate, enough to melt and cover the dough, with a layer brushed over the dough. The layer should be thin, on the bottom and sides, to protect against the humidity of the filling, so it keeps the crispness longer. Set aside.
220 grams sugar
300 grams of creamy butter
3 zest lemons (peeled)
200 grams eggs
160 grams of Lemon Juice
Mix the juice of the lemons, the zest, and the eggs, mix the caster sugar, mix well in a pan,and heat until it reaches 82 degrees so that the eggs do not coagulate. Immediately remove from the pan and let it cool down to 40 degrees, mixing the butter with a hand mixer in the bowl. Gradually add the butter and mix.
Once the emulsion is made, pour it over the bottom of the chocolate-waterproofed pie.
Take it to the refrigerator to firm up.
80 grams water
400 grams of cooked sugar
200 grams of egg white
Put the egg whites in the mixer. Make the syrup in parallel, first the water, then the sugar, mixing very well before boiling. Take to fire. Separate a piping bag with the preferred beak. When the syrup begins to boil, start the egg whisk, first slowly, and when it foams, increase the speed. The ideal syrup temperature is 116 degrees Celsius. Slowly pour this syrup over the egg whites from the side, without stopping beating. Let it beat until the bowl cools down. The cream becomes firm and glossy at the end.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator and decorate it with a piping bag.
If you want you can caramelize it with a blowtorch to give color, and flavor and protect it from drying out. If you prefer you can leave the pie white. With lemons and small rose petals, it’s also very pretty.
STORAGE & REHEATING
–Storage: Keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator
–Reheating: Not recommended
–Freezing: Not recommended