Lemon Tartlets

09 November 2011

Creamy sweet lemon curd with a lovely fresh lemon flavor filled in crunchy tartlet shells. Simple and deliciously good!

I have never found lemon tartlets appealing when it comes to baked goodies. And I think the reason may be the "lemon" itself, more than the "tartlet". When I was younger my mom used to buy these double sandwiched square cookies that comes in a long packet with a good quantity of biscuits with lemon flavor. And that lemon flavor in those biscuits did not have a chance to be added in my favorite list. Later on I have baked lemon cake which has been pretty good with a slight lemon flavor, but I have still not managed to see how lemon or more specifically lemon curd alone can be good in a tart shell. Until recently.

The first time I had a bite of a lemon tartlet was last year on a vacation abroad. It was not the best, but surprisingly alright in taste yet still not good enough to be remembered. And after that I never had a second try on lemon tartlet before just a few days ago and this time I was the pastry chef myself.
The matter here in this case is that my brother-in-law loves lemon tartlets. He has been eating them in restaurants, bakery's and stuff and has definitely found his favorite. So my challenge was to create "perfect" lemon tartlets and all the experience I had regarding lemon tarts was the bite I had a year ago.

Anyways, I had not only to take the challenge, but win it also and my research for lemon tartlets started on google. It is never easy to find recipe in google, because you do not have a clue which one is good and which one is not so I tried to read some blogs and make an idea of what a good recipe could be like. The problem was not the tart shell crust, it was the lemon curd. My sister told me she tried to make lemon tartlets once and ended up with too intense lemon flavor which ruined the tartlets and almost all of the recipes I checked had a large quantity of lemon juice added. Do not the lemons outside scandinavia have a strong flavor??

All the google searching made me even more confused so I just picked up the recipe that made sense to me and went off trying it. Even this recipe called for a whole half a cup of lemon juice and I reduced it till barely 1 tbsp which according to me also was too much and gave a strong enough flavor. For the tartlet shells I used a recipe from an old norwegian cooking book.

Ok, so did I win this challenge of making the "perfect" lemon tartlets? Uhm, well not really, but I can say I was pretty close. A few adjustments and I could have got greater results. The judge himself (my bro-in-law) could sum it up with that it was a good effort, but the lemon curd had to be thicker and the yellowish color was too strong (I added coloring since swedish eggs are too pale). My mom thought it had a strong buttery flavor (which is true cause of all the butter I added).

So what do I think? Firstly, I think it was a good attempt, secondly lemon tartlets are not at all bad. They tasted lovely with a fresh lemon tast, but yes, less butter could make them even tastier. And I wanted to pipe the lemon curd like a swirl so the curd has to be thicker next time. I will try to make them again at the end of this week with another lemon curd recipe that is made with maizena and very little butter. I guess this will thickens the curd and hopefully give "perfect" lemon tartlets.

Makes about 12 lemon tartlets

I n g r e d i e n t s

Tartlet Shells

12 - 14 tartlet shells

100 g butter
100 g allpurpose flour
1 tbsp water, ice cold

Grease the tartlet shells with butter

1. Dice the butter into cubes and have the flour in a medium sized bowl
2. Crumble the butter into the flour with your fingertips
3. Bind the dough together with the water (do not over-work the dough), wrap it in plastic foil and chill in the refrigerator for atleast 1 hour or preferably overnight

4. Roll out the dough and cut circles that are a little larger than the tartlet shells. Cover the shells and prick with a fork and fill them with beans (to avoid shrinking of the tarts wile baking)

Bake in the middle of a hot pre-heated oven at 200C for about 15 minutes or until they are golden in color

Lemon Curd (taken from Ono Kine Grindz and modified a little by me)

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 dl sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly pressed
75 g butter

1. Combine eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until well blended
2. Add the lemon juice and continue to whisk until the sugar has dissolved
3. Transfer the egg mixture to a sauce pan, add in butter and cook on medium-low heat until it thickens (about 10 minutes). Do NOT allow it to boil
4. Pour in a bowl and let cool completely at room temperature

Fill the lemon curd in the baked tartlet shells and bake them again in a moderately hot oven at 125C for about 5 minutes to set the lemon curd

Let cool completely at room temperature and store in a airtight container

Beautiful lemon tartlets..

garnished with peel of clementine

I had to take pictures with a half cut clementine since I had no lemon

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