Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lemon Tarts of Summer Sun.

Dear Citrus-Laden,

We have some pals with a lemon tree of great plenty, and so I made some of Tartine's Lemon Cream to fill some tart shells.  I just got some new old stock tartlet pans from a shop with vintage housewares; Scandinavian Sandbakkel, or sand tart molds;  The Sandbakkel recipe on the back of the box is easy to press into the molds, and I offer it below, but use any pastry recipe you wish.  The  Lemon Cream recipe is from Tartine.  You can mix the Lemon Cream with whipped cream, and make a lighter more mousse-like filling, too.  Or use the Lemon Cream any where you would use lemon curd.  The entire Tartine cookbook is very good, with clear directions and enough glorious food porn photography to keep readers turning the pages. 

Tartine's Lemon Cream:

1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (lime, orange, or grapefruit juice may also be used)
1 egg yolk
3 eggs 
3/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt

1 cup butter; cut into 16 tablespoon sized slabs

Put the bottom of a double boiler or a pot on the stove and bring a few inches of water to a boil- turn it down to a reasonable simmer.  Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a non-reactive bowl that you can put over the pot of simmering water, or use a double boiler. Keep the mixture moving, as the lemon juice can cause the eggs to become granular.  Cook for ten or twelve minutes, and then pour the hot lemon custard into a blender.  With the blender running, add the butter, a lump at a time; taking care not to add more butter until the previous butter has been incorporated.

Pour it into pastry shells, or you can store it in the refrigerator, but it will become much more stiff, and if you want to pour it after you have chilled it, you will need to heat it gently in a bain-marie, which is a French term for a double boiler.


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 unbeaten egg
1 teaspoon of almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream the shortening, butter and sugar well.  Add the egg and extract.  Add the flour to make a stiff dough.  Press a small ball of dough into each mold, spreading it as thin as possible.  Bake the molds on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.  They might need persuading to release from the tins-  squeeze the tin gently, or tap them on the back.  If all else fails, pry them up with a knife tip and eat the ones that crumble.

Oh, yes, and here's a little song to sing while you make your tarts and lemon filling, because you don't need the surface of things to tell you what you just know.

PS  Vintage tart tins are available on Etsy:  Here's a nice set.