Friday, October 5, 2012

Mini Lemon Tart Recipe

Last weekend I took lemon tarts to a baby shower that my friend hosted. I want to share that recipe here.

I searched high and low and tried several lemon tart recipes. I love them, but didn't want them to taste like dish soap (maybe it's just me, but I get that from some lemon desserts) or curdle when baked. I liked the idea of baking the lemon curd in the pie crust so I didn't have to worry about the crust getting misshapen-ed when it was baking. I combined and tweaked a couple recipes and this is what I came up with.
Makes 72 Tarts
  • 3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 TB sugar
  • I tsp salt
  • 12 TB (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C cold shortening ( I buy the Crisco sticks and keep one in the fridge all the time)
  • 1/2 C ice water
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 C. fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Cut the butter and shortening into cubes and add them to the dry ingredients. Pulse 8 to 12 times until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running pour the ice water down the feed tube and let it run until the dough forms a ball. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the refrigerator until you have the lemon mixture made.
Mix the condensed milk and yolks in a bowl with a whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Add the lemon juice and zest.
Into a mini muffin pan, scoop about 1 1/2 tsp of dough (I used my smallest scoop) into each cup, using a mini-tart shaper to press the dough up and around the sides of the cup. Alternative: You can use your fingers or roll out the dough, cut round or flower shapes and press it into the cups if you don't have a shaper.
Using a Tablespoon size scoop or measuring spoon, transfer lemon mixture to the cups. Carefully do this as any lemon mix that gets between the crust and pan will cause it to stick and will turn dark brown and ruin the look of your perfect little tarts. Fill them 3/4 of the way full, they do expand just a bit.
Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes then use the tip of a paring knife to carefully remove them. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

To serve, pipe a dollop of whipped cream on each one and garnish with a curled lemon peel or in what ever creative way you come up with and share it with us!

Supplies I used:
For the crust, I used an ex-small ice cream scoop, it holds about 1 1/2 tsp of water, there is no measurement on it. It is Farberware. I just scooped and leveled it of with my thumb and squeezed it into the cup. This gave me just the  right amount of dough. You want the dough to be somewhat thin to have as much lemon curd inside.
To press the crust into place, I used a wooden mini-tart shaper from Pampered Chef. I assume this can be found in other kitchen stores. It is a very useful tool if you make mini tarts or mini quiches. Mine sits for years, but when I need it, it is invaluable! You just press the dough straight down and with a circular motion maneuver the dough evenly up the sides.

For the lemon mixture, I used a small ice cream scoop. It holds a tablespoon full. I scooped lemon curd and poured it into the crust cup and could squeeze and clean out the extra lemon zest stuck inside. Also the longer the lemon mixture sits, it starts to thicken, so the scoop is helpful.

Acknowledgements; The crust recipe I got from the Barefoot Contessa, it can be found here. The lemon curd recipe is from a pin on my pinterest board and the website is here. (it used a graham cracker crust and stuck to the liner but I love the lemon curd)

Keep tip in the corner, add the cream
Decorating Tip: I never know how long whipped cream will stay fluffy, so I didn't want to pipe the cream on at home. I decided instead to whip the cream at home, I put a decorating tip in the corner of a gallon size bag, held it there while I scooped my whipped cream into the bag and sealed the top of the bag. At the party venue, I snipped a 1/4 inch off the corner of the bag, pushed my tip into the opening and piped the cream onto the tops. It worked like a charm!

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