Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday baking - lemon tartlets

As we bake our way throught A Treasure of New Zealand Baking

Now that lemons are back in abundance, I've been doing lots of lemon based baking. We had a work midwinter party last weekend, and I was charged with bringing something sweet. I trawled through ATONZB and thought these lemon tartlets would be perfect.

When making the lemon curd, I absentmindedly allowed the butter, sugar & lemon mixture to get quite hot before I added the egg. Such an amateur mistake that I realised almost immediately when the egg scrambled before my eyes and I was powerless to stop them! All I could do was admit defeat, abort the mixture and start again. In attempt two I was far more careful, and successful. These delicate little tartlets were quite a hit.

Lemon Tartlets -Kathy Paterson (Week 15)
Lemon curd
170g caster sugar
115g unsalted butter
grated zest and strained juice of 2 large lemons
3 eggs, beaten

225g high-grade flour
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

To make the lemon curd, place the sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice in a heavy-based saucepan. Cook slowly until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted. Sieve the eggs into the saucepan and stir well, using a wooden spoon. Continue stirring and cook until the mixture is thick (do not allow to boil as this will make it curdle). Leave to cool then refrigerate.

To make the pastry, sift the flower onto the bench. Make a well in the centre and in this place the other ingredients. Using the fingertips of one hand. work on the butter, sugar, yolks and vanilla together. Then once creamed, draw in the flower and kneed lightly until smooth. Chill, wrapped in baking paper for 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 180.
Lightly flour a bench and roll the pastry out thinly. Using a 5cm plain pastry cutter, cut out rounds to fill small tartlet tins. Press each pastry round into ist tin and prick with a fork. Chill the pastry cases again until firm. The bake unitl a pale biscuit colour, about 6 minutes. Remove pastry cases from tins and cool before filling each case with a good teaspoonful of lemon curd.

I also topped some of the tartlets with meringue! Delicious!

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