Lewis Carroll’s Birthday Lemon Tarts
The basic recipe for these tarts came from the Rose Bakery Cookbook. I saved time by making the tart dough the day before and freezing it.
Makes: 20 tartlets
Prep time: 90 minutes, plus 90 minutes for the dough to cool in the refrigerator
For the tart dough:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- ¾ cup unsalted, firm butter
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease tartlet tins with butter.
- In a food processor, mix flour, sugar, butter and salt until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (ten seconds).
- Put the mixture in a bowl and make a well in the middle to add the eggs and vanilla. Stir to incorporate the flour and then use your hand to mix the ingredients well.
- Remove dough to a dusted work surface and knead a few minutes until it is smooth.
- Put dough in fridge for at least an hour to cool it.
- Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness and, depending upon the size of your tartlet tins, cut dough into shapes that roughly approximate the shape of the tins.
- Tamp the dough down into the tins, gently pressing down until the dough smoothly lines the tin. Cut the dough off at the edge of the tins.
- Put tartlets back in the fridge and cool for 30 minutes before baking. Fill tartlets with pie weights and bake for 5 minutes. Cool before filling.
For the lemon filling:
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup cream
- ½ tablespoon flour
For the lemon curd:
- 1 egg plus 3 egg yolks
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the Filling:
- Whisk lemon juice and sugar until well mixed in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time.
- Add the cream and whisk well, then add the flour.
- Strain the mixture. Before pouring into the tartlet cases, brush the tartlets with a beaten egg glaze to keep the dough from becoming wet. Pour the lemon mixture into the tartlet cases until they are 2/3 full (they will rise). Bake for about 30 minutes, then allow to cool.
- For the lemon curd, put the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and, stirring constantly at medium heat, cook until the curd thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
- Strain into a bowl and cover (keeps in fridge for a week and is delicious on biscuits, scones and gingerbread.) When curd has cooled in fridge, spread over the lemon tartlets and serve.
- Can be garnished with blueberries, or little cutouts of the tartlet dough.
- For the blueberry-jam glazed tartlets, substitute blueberry jam for lemon curd. Melt jam in small saucepan over low heat until it softens, then brush on tartlets with a pastry brush. Tartlets are best if served on the same day they are made.