I have a small collection of Portuguese ceramics, some I got in Potugal and some here in France, mostly at brocantes. Last week I found a beautiful pair of dishes, one of olives and the other walnuts in a local brocante.I thought I would cook a couple of things with these ingredients plus the lemons from an earlier plate bought in a flea market in Lisbon.
But first just a little about Potuguese Ceramics.
The Museu de Cerâmica of Caldas da Rainha is located north of Lisbon .The town has a long tradition associated with the development of ceramics, particularly outstanding in the 19th century.
Art Nouveau influenced the ceramics in the late 19th century, which can be seen in the naturalistic subject matter strongly reproducing flowers, plants,insects and animal forms .
This interest in Nature came from a revival of interest in the French Renaissance Ceramicist, Bernard Palissy He became a cult figure and strongly influenced 19th century ceramic artists.
Famous Portuguese Ceramic artists include
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and his successor at the Fabrica de Faianças , Antonio Auguusto da Costa Motta.Above are some examples of Pinheiro’s ceramic quirky cups and sauces.
A recipe using Lemons and Walnuts.
Lemon Curd Tarts with Walnut Pastry.
4large eggs ,200g of fine sugar,150mls of lemon juice,zest of one unwaxed lemon.60gs of unsalted butter at room temperature,cut into about 8 pieces.
Choose a saucepan that will hold a heat proof bowl sitting just above simmering water.(About 150 mls of water) it should not touch the water.Whisk the eggs and sugar at high speed in a stand mixer or if not with hand held mixer, until very light and fluffy. Still mixing add the lemon juice and grated zest.Put the bowl in the saucepan and cook the mixture, whisking constantly by hand. It should be smooth,thick and custardlike.This can take awhile. Be patient! When it is thick take the bowl out of the saucepan and off the heat whisk in the butter piece by piece.Scrape into another bowl that is cool and cover and let set and chill.Once the curd is set it should not be stirred again.
500gs of walnuts shelled and in pieces.250gs of room temperature unsalted butter,1/3 cup of sugar,750gs sifted plain flour, 1 large egg, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Pulse the nuts in food processor a few times,add sugar and flour and continue to pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer dry mix to a bowl and beat in softened butter,egg and vanilla extract.Mix to incorporate and divide into 3 pieces, rolled into a cylinder. Wrap and refrigerate. Use after an hour or two.Cut pieces of pastry and press into tart tins. I used aluminium cups used for take aways. Very handy and flexible so doesn’t stick.Bake the cases blind See here baking blind.For this pastry do not roll out with a rolling pin, press into moulds.Then add chilled Lemon curd. Delicious!
Next Blog olive recipe and a bit of fish.