Monday, April 1, 2013

sunny spring lemon tarts - a lazy daisy favorite

O Sunshine, Sunshine... wherefore art thou, Sunshine?

If you live in Middle Tennessee, you are quoting the same.  We've been back in town for a week and a day from Spring Break, and I think we've had one day of sunlight since our return.  How I could use more!

I've had this recipe tucked away for a little while just waiting to try it on the perfect day.  To me, it says, "Spring.  Life.  Light!"  So, why not Easter Sunday?  

Yesterday, the four of us enjoyed a wonderful meal out and came home to beautifully colored eggs and these tangy tarts.  Outside our windows it poured, but inside there was at least a little brightness in the kitchen, if not in the whole house.

I am planning to use this crust recipe over and over.  It could not have been easier to work with, and it certainly couldn't have been more tender, yet sturdy.  The sweetness and zing of the filling needed its subtleness and buttery bite to balance them.

Easter.  I've always loved it, and with every year, I become more and more thankful for the empty tomb.  Lately, the boys have had so many questions about Heaven, what it will be like, if we'll know each other, when we will go.  To see their excitement, to hear their thoughts... I am thankful. Thankful for the promise.  Thankful for the message.  Thankful for our Savior who made it possible to tell my children they, too, will live forever in joy because their Jesus loved them enough.  

The Messiah.  

He is risen.  He is risen, indeed.  Hallelujah! 

Sunny Spring Lemon Tarts - makes 8-10 tarts

For the shells
  • 1/2 stick cold butter
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4-5 tbsp. ice water
For the filling
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon peel, grated
For the topping
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • powdered sugar to taste
~ In a stand mixer, with a pastry cutter or two forks, or in a food processor, mix butter, 
    flour and salt until dough becomes crumbly.  
~ Add water 2 tablespoons at a time until consistency is smooth.  
~ Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
~ Roll out dough on cutting board and cut 3" circles using a cookie cutter or top of drinking 
~ Place into greased cupcake pan, pressing sides of dough to fit.
~ Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  
~ Combine all filling ingredients in a heavy, non-aluminum saucepan.
~ Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted and mixture 
    thickens slightly.  Do not allow to boil.
~ Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and cool.
~ Spoon filling into dough cups (about 3-4 tablespoons per cup).
~ Bake 15-18 minutes.
~ While baking, whip cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate until baked tarts
    are cooled, then top.  Refrigerate leftover tarts.

Tips and Tricks
  • I ended up testing one tart first to accomplish the right cooking time for our oven.  At 17 minutes, the shell was golden brown, but the bottom of the shell was ever-so-slightly soft.  I didn't want to over-brown, so I heated a pan on the stove to medium and sat the tarts in it for about 1 minute until golden.
Recipe slightly adapted from Kroger