Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Lemon Curd and Mini Tartlets

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon PieOne of my first-ever blog posts, eight years ago, was for waffles topped with homemade lemon curd.  Looking back at that post, I can appreciate how much my photography skills have developed and improved since then, and I've been meaning to update my lemon curd recipe with new photos that are more appealing than the ones I shot in the window-less kitchen of the condo where my husband and I first lived together, and where this baking blog of mine began.

Lemon curd is a staple for bakers, and having a great homemade lemon-curd recipe on hand is essential.
I've used lemon curd as a filling for cakes, to spoon over muffins, pancakes or waffles, to eat on toast or in a sandwich with peanut butter (try it, it's amazing!), drizzled over ice cream, or to fill mini tartlet pastry shells.  You can lighten it up with whipped cream, or layer it in a trifle with cake and cream and berries, or whip it together with cream cheese to fill a no-bake pie topped with fruit.  You can even churn it into a delectable creamy ice cream.  Just thinking about it has me daydreaming about a naked cake filled with lemon curd, topped with clouds of whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  That's about as summery as a cake can get.





Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie




The tartlet shells are fun to make.  Homemade pie dough is rolled and cut into small circles and pressed into the molds of a tartlet pan to bake into cute little pastry shells that are buttery, light and flaky, and can be filled with anything you like.  These are great to serve at a party, since you can fill the shells with vanilla custard, lemon curd, whipped cream cheese or maybe even good-quality fruit preserves, and top them with berries or sliced stone fruits, chopped salted nuts or toffee bits.  And no one feels bad about eating two or three of these when they're so cute and tiny.

If homemade pastry isn't your jam, try the store-bought shortbread pastry shells, which you can find on the baking aisle of most major grocery stores.  I love those when I'm in a rush, and even used them for the dessert table at my wedding, filling them with homemade lemon curd, salted caramel sauce and chocolate ganache.





Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie




Lemon Curd
printable

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 4 small lemons
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
Notes:
* To make lemon curd, you'll need to cook it gently by using a double boiler, which is easy to create by placing a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water.
* The cooled lemon curd will be the consistency of warm pudding, but will not be as thick and jellied as store-bought lemon curd.  For a much thicker consistency, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch before cooking, if you like.
* Homemade lemon curd is best eaten within about two weeks.

Fill your saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile, in your heat proof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth.  Set the bowl over the saucepan.  Use a spatula to stir the lemon curd constantly as it cooks until it thickens enough to leave tracks on the side of the bowl and coats the spatula.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter, a few tablespoons at a time, until fully melted into the curd.  If you prefer, you can push the lemon curd through a mesh strainer to remove the zest, or you can leave it in.  Pour the curd into a glass jar and keep refrigerated.

Yields about 2 cups
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen



Pastry for Tartlets
printable

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 tablespoons milk, cold
Note: You'll need a mini-tartlet pan to bake these tartlets.  My tartlet pan makes 12 tartlets at a time, and came with a 2 1/2 inch fluted cutter and a little mold to press the dough into the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut the butter into cubes and scatter over the flour mixture, then use a pastry cutter to cut the butter in until the remaining pieces of butter are about the size of peas.  Drizzle with the milk, then use your hands to bring the dough together just until it forms a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to between 1/4 - 1/8 inch thick.  Use a 2 1/2 inch cutter to cut out as many tartlets as you can, re-roll the scraps and continue cutting to use up all the dough.

Press the dough into your mini tartlet pan.  Prick the bottoms of the shells with a fork (this will help prevent it from puffing up too much), and freeze in the pan for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375.  Bake the tartlet shells for 15-17 minutes, until a pale golden brown.  Cool completely, remove from the pan, and store in an air-tight container until you're ready to fill and serve.

Yields about 18 tartlets
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen




Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon Pie

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