Delectable mini lemon tarts
Ideal for entertaining, these impressive lemon tarts are simple to make, sweet to eat and become even more guest-pleasing when topped with vanilla bean ice cream or gelato.
Mini lemon tarts recipe
For the tart shells:
- 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ice cold water
For the lemon curd:
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- Zest and juice of 4 lemons (roll lemons firmly on the counter before juicing)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into slices and chilled
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt.
- Using your fingertips, quickly rub the pieces of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla and water. Add to the flour mixture and blend together with a fork until ingredients are well blended.
- Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times and shape into a ball. Press into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one to two hours.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray. (You can also use miniature fluted tart pans.)
- Roll the dough out between two large sheets of wax paper.
- Using a two-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles and tuck the dough into muffin cups, pressing with your fingertips so that the dough comes up the sides of the cup.
- Using a fork prick the bottoms of each dough cup . Then cut four-inch squares of foil and press them into the inside of the dough cups. Fill cups with pie weights or beans to weigh down the foil.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and take out the foil and pie weights and then return the crusts to the oven for another five to six minutes until the crusts are lightly golden on the edges.
- Fill a medium saucepan with one to two inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- In a medium heat-proof bowl (large enough to sit on the saucepan without touching the water), whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
- Measure the lemon juice to get one-third cup (add water, if necessary).
- Add lemon juice and lemon zest to the egg mixture and whisk this until smooth.
- Reduce temperature under the saucepan to medium-low and place bowl on top of the saucepan.
- Bring lemon mixture to a simmer and whisk continually for seven to eight minutes or until mixture is thickened, light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove bowl from heat and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece of butter to melt before adding the next.
- Let lemon curd cool to room temperature then spoon into baked tart shells.
- Serve topped with small scoops of ice cream or gelato and fresh fruit.
Cook's note: Lemon curd can be made up to one week ahead. Once cooled, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the curd and store in the refrigerator.