Spring, where are you? I went to a bar at the top of one of the tallest towers in the City last night, expecting to show a guest a marvellous sunset over London. Instead – rain. The views were still spectacular as London lit up before us, and it was rather fantastic to see the BT Tower flashing red in support of Comic Relief, but gosh, I really, really am just fed up of the grey days. We all want sunshine and for warmer weather to arrive!
With that, here is a little recipe that does just that. Some sunshine-yellow lemon tartlets!
These tartlets were prompted by my promise after my rhubarb tarts post to show an idea for using up the scraps of pastry you tend to end up with after making a sweet pastry shell (it’s always best to get the tart shell nice and thin, rather than trying to use up all the pastry – no-one likes a thick bottom!).
You’ll see how they look rather fancy, this the shape is achieved using a couple of very simple tricks. First trick – try to get the pastry as thin as possible. Second trick – use a fluted pastry cutter to get the scalloped edge. Third trick – get the ridged effect on the outside by placing the circles of pastry into a muffin tray lined with fluted cake cases. If you pastry is nice and buttery, it won’t stick, and looks pretty to. Final trick – place another fluted cake case on top of the pastry, press down gently, and weigh down with baking beads. Hey presto – vaguely daisy-like pastry cases for minimal effort! One last thing though is to make sure they are chilled before baking – this ensures that they keep their shape when popped in the oven.
The star factor, of course, comes from the filling, and what a filling it is. It is super-easy and takes no more than ten minutes from start to finish, but they really provide a rich, lemony flavour. This means they are very easy to whip up in a hurry at short notice. The colour is all-natural too, and the sharp tang of citrus bringing just a little bit of sunshine with them. The recipe also works with limes, and can be jazzed up with a little meringue on top to make them extra-special.
To make lemon tartlets:
• 10 pastry cases (cooked!)
• 1 egg
• 1 egg yolk
• 50g white caster sugar
• zest of 1 lemon
• 50ml lemon juice
• 55g unsalted butter
1. In a bowl, combine everything except the butter. Mix until well combined.
2. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and whisk constantly until thick (around 4 minutes). Remove from the heat, add the butter and whisk until it is combined and smooth.
3. Immediately pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the lemon zest.
4. Spoon the warm lemon cream into the pastry shells. Shake slightly to event the top of the filling and leave to cool.
Worth making? This is easy lemon curd which works wonderfully – super colour, fantastic flavour. Really recommended! If you don’t have the tart shells, it works as a simple lemon curd too for toast, crumpets or English muffins!