Meyer Lemon Tartlets

Winter suddenly is upon us and I always look forward to all the fresh winter citrus. I was lucky enough last week to get a small shipment of fresh Meyer lemons from my brother who lives in Texas and has a tree in his back yard. He didn’t send a lot as he had somewhat of a crop failure but a box came my way when I thought none were going to be shared so I am thrilled at my horde of smallish, greenish lemons. He was heading out of the country and picked them a tad early due to his eminent departure.  They are relaxing safe in my fruit bin of the fridge and I decided to make a special dessert yesterday.

I have made plenty of full sized lemon tarts but not so much in my small 3 inch across flat bottomed tartlet pans. I have two 4 piece pans so I could make 8 at a time. I chose to make 4 yesterday and the rest today.  That way my crust for tonight is incredibly fresh so I can present them with the perfect contrast of the flaky buttery crust and the lightly sweetened but tangy lemon filling.

We ate a couple last night for dessert and I served them with full fat plain Greek yogurt from Aldi’s which has great flavor and a thick smooth texture. It is rich and still somehow light.  A better topping than ice cream which melts…unfortunate in a lemon tart and less work than making whipped cream. I suppose you could top with some spray whipped cream but I chose something healthier and I happen to love it used as a pie topper.  High end plain yogurt is also really good for this purpose; StonyField Organic Low Fat is my preferred choice.

I make my standard pie crust dough and chill before rolling out chunks of it. I didn’t make thick fancy edges; smaller edges being better for the putting of the lemon flavor as the forward taste of these tartlets. I ended up with six shells and I took the leftover crust bits and make a hand pie filled with homemade pawpaw jam. Can’t wait to try that treat!

Notes: You can make these tartlets with regular lemons that you freshly juice. You might want to up the sugar by ¼ cup if you do that.  Also, these tarts should be stored in the fridge until serving. Enjoy!

tartlet shells

lemon tartlet

Meyer Lemon Tartlets  makes six

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Roll chunks of it out to thin circles and fit into tartlet pans. Mine have removable disc bottoms and I highly recommend them. Prick the bottoms with a fork to prevent puffing up and bake at 375 degrees for about 11 or 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.  You need six tartlet shells as the filling is just fill six. You should have enough crust for 7: hence my hand pie.

Lemon Filling:

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

The zested rind of 1 and a half Meyer lemons, of just one lemon if you use regular lemons

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks (freeze whites for use later)

½ tsp. lemon extract

¼ cup butter cut into 4-6 small pieces

Directions: combine sugar, lemon juice, eggs and yolks in heavy bottomed medium sauce pan; 1 quart size works perfectly.  Heat over medium low while stirring constantly with a whisk. Heat until it thickens a lot and coats the spoon thickly.  Will take 8-10 minutes.  Do not stop stirring or it will boil and overcook! No boiling…. An instant read thermometer will be at 175 degrees. Pour into a mixing bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool in fridge at least until lukewarm. It will look a lot like the filling for a lemon meringue pie but soft and almost pudding-like. Spoon into tartlets and chill at least an hour or two before serving; the tartlets should be icy cold when you plate it. Top with a spoonful of high quality Greek yogurt or freshly whipped cream and maybe a thin wedge of lemon. Enjoy!

The filling and crust are out of Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook; The Heirloom Collection. I just adapted it to small tartlet pans.  The flour is King Arthur’s basic blend or you can make it at home; see any pie recipe I have posted for the proportions of flours; easy as there are only 3 ingredients to it.

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