When does a recipe become your own? How radically must a method be altered before you are entitled to ownership? How many tweaks to the list of ingredients are required before you can stake a claim on it? How many times should you bake it before it is yours? Can a recipe be yours by ancestry? At what point does a recipe deserve transformation from acknowledgment-via-link to column space on your blog?
Bright yellow lemon curd at the Koondrook Farmers’ market reminded me of the little lemon tarts my grandmother used to make. Funny that those tarts had featured in reminiscent conversation the day before: crisp shortcrust shells stored in a battered tin, lemon butter, topped with a dollop of cream.
The following recipe has echoes of the tarts from my grandmothers kitchen, using a crust adapted from the deconstructed Apple Pie Ice Cream that featured on the ABC’s the Cook and the Chef series, but without vanilla and tweaked for the food processor so as to avoid manual handling. Can I claim this recipe as my own?
Whiz 125g caster sugar, 250g flour, 50g cornflour, and ½ teaspoon baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Add 200g butter cut into cubes and pulse until a sandy mixture forms. Add an egg and a tablespoon of cold water, then continue pulsing until a ball of dough forms. Another tablespoon of cold water may be required to help things along. Line a baking tray with nonstick paper and tip the ball of dough into the centre. Use a piece of plastic wrap as a barrier while pressing the dough with your hands into a circle roughly 5mm thick. Chill pastry for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C while the pastry is resting. Remove pastry from refrigerator, and prick all over with a fork. Use a sharp knife to mark 8 to 10 wedges on the surface of the pastry without cutting all the way through. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on the tray.
Break the pastry into wedges, using the marks made in the crust before it was baked as a guide. Top each with spoonfuls of lemon curd (or lemon butter) and dollops of whipped cream.