Meyer Lemon Tartlets; Delicate and Delightful

We were lucky enough last month to get a small shipment of fresh Meyer lemons from my brother who lives in Texas and has a tree in his back yard. I saw a bag of 4/5 of them in Giant Food Market this past week so they are available locally.

I have made plenty of full sized lemon tarts but not so much in my small 3 inch across flat bottomed tartlet pans, I made this recipe maybe a couple of years ago. I have two 4 piece pans so I could make up to 8 at a time. I made 6 tartlets and had a tiny bit of filling left over. 

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…rather unfortunate in a lemon tart and the yogurt is less work than making whipped cream. StonyField Organic Low Fat is my preferred choice for great quality yogurt you might find in Giant or Wegmans.

I make my standard pie crust dough and chilled it before rolling out chunks of it. I didn’t make thick fancy edges; smaller edges being better for putting the lemon filling as the forward taste of these tartlets. I ended up with six shells.

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 enough to fill six.

Lemon Filling:
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The Best Lemon Squares

I’ve been making lemon squares for years; including all the years I’ve been gluten free. Tried a few recipes; okay but my clear favorite for taste and easiness to make is the one out of my beloved “Gluten-Free Baking Classics” by Annalise Roberts; cannot stress enough how reliable and tasty her stuff bakes up. This one definitely falls into both those categories.

I used the wonderful Meyer lemons my brother sends me; so delicate a flavor and perfectly scented. Use whatever lemons you have as this is a delightful treat that even your non-gf friends will clamor for.

lemon bar

Lemon bar with lots of powdered sugar!

“The” Lemon Squares

Crust:
1 cup King Arthur basic gf blend flour
¼ c sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 Tbsp. butter.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. I put the oven shelf near the bottom of the oven. In your stand mixer, blend flour, sugar and gum; add butter which you cut up into 8-10 smaller pieces. Blend until small crumbles. While it does that spray an 8 inch metal pan with cooking spray and dust with gf flour. Pour crumbs into pan and spread evenly as possible into corners and up a bit of the sides. Press a bit but not too hard to get the best result. This recipe’s filling doesn’t go very far up the sides so just a bit up. Bake 15 minutes.

While it bakes make the filling; I use the same mixing bowel and paddle. FYI: I Have a great new paddle with a scraper edge that my guy bought me; it is fantastic at mixing batters better; far less scaping necessary. Best gift in kitchen!

3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. KA basic gf blend flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated fresh lemon rind; then juice it for
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons should do it)
½ tsp. pure lemon extract

Beat eggs in the mixing bowl after the crust goes into the pan until kinda foamy. Then add rest of ingredients and mix well; be sure the flour is blended in. Pour over the warm crust and bake for 20 more minutes. Let cool before cutting. I like to sprinkle mine with a bit of powdered sugar; 1-2 tbsp worth.
I think it tastes even better the second day. Needs to rest a bit and let the flavors ripen to their fullest.

Lemon Squares: Easy, Delish and GF

I strongly believe in seasonal eating and winter is the season of citrus so more power to the lemon! As mentioned previously, my brother sent me a box of juicy Meyer lemons from his tree down in Texas. I also believe in making my own treats; truly they are a lot healthier than store made sweets.  Last night we enjoyed lemon squares, gluten free and very dainty with the special flavor of Meyer lemons.  Of course, you can use the regular lemons available in the store; will be a tad sharper/brighter in flavor but they will work nicely.

These cookies are very easy to throw together; I made a shortbread cookie style gf press and bake crust and the filling ingredients are whisked together in my mixer and poured into the partially baked crust.  So easy to make and I wanted something light and delicate after all the fancy holiday desserts.  You would never guess they are made without all purpose wheat flour.  Anyone will love them if they are a fan of lemon. Take these to your next gathering, they will be scarped up pretty fast, and you will be seen as a real baker. Best of all you are eating a safe treat that is relatively guilt free; no gluten, no preservatives, not that much sugar compared to a cake and homemade flavor. Score!

lemon squares 008


 Cookie Tart Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mixture (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold butter cut up into 6 or 7 chunks

Directions for crust:

Mix the dry ingredients with a stand mixer, add the butter, blend with the paddle blade until the butter is small pebbles.  Press into an 8 inch square pan, be sure to first spray the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with rice flour.  Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  While it bakes make the filling.

lemon squares 002

Baked cookie crust

Filling

3 large eggs, warm them close to room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice

2 tbsp gf flour mix

2 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs until fluffy, add the sugar slowly but steadily, mix, add rest of ingredients, Mix until smooth.

lemon squares 003

Adding the lemon zest.

Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 min; until set.

lemon squares 006

Just out of the oven.

Cool completely and refrigerate if you want to serve them cold. They do not freeze well and only keep about 3 days, if any square are left that long!   I like to sift some powdered sugar on right before serving them. Use a sieve and about 2 tbsp. powdered sugar.  Luscious lemony goodness can be yours with minimal effort.

lemon squares 008

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is from Annalise Roberts; Gluten – Free Baking Classics, a fantastic source for baking gluten free treats, full of recipes just like  your old wheaty friends but so so much safer!

Originally posted in winter of 2015. Minor changes to text, not to recipe.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Pies are lovely but sometimes I like to make little tartlets. Folks just love having their own miniature pie.  I haven’t tried this shrink job before on a lemon meringue pie. But today I did it. This is my take on my mom’s bastardized version of an old Betty Crocker recipe and (of course) made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can double it if you are a sweet freak.  The Meyer lemons in these tartlets are sweeter than regular lemons so they really don’t need all that much sugar compared to regular garden variety lemons.

I used Meyer lemons for this recipe since I had some my brother sent me.  These  tartlets have a really delicate lemon flavor – so try it if you can get a couple.  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be slightly difficult to find Meyer lemons and a bit pricey too.  I saw them at Giant this week, might be worth it…

My mom always added a touch of corn syrup to replace some of the reduced out sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  In this tartlet form you can leave out the corn syrup…the resulting lemon custard kinda needs to be firmer  in this tiny format.

Tip: Don’t make this on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftovers in the fridge. It probably won’t keep more than two days but frankly these tartlets will be eaten if you have anyone else in the house!

 

Lemon Meringue  Tartlets

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe) [King Arthur plain mix]

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

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. Then roll it out and line 7-8 tartlet pan with it.  Make sure you get the crust nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 350 for 9-10 minutes until light brown.  Let cool.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

1-2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup (optional but it does make it extra creamy)

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped tartlets.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and zest and then stir in the butter.  Let it melt as you stir.  Glug in some corn syrup. Let it stand in the hot pan while you make the meringue.  Then use a big spoon to pour the hot lemon filling into the mini pie crusts.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. I put it on very carefully in 2-3 spoonfuls and spread it gently to keep it from overflowing the filling. There should be enough filling for eight flat bottomed tartlets or seven deep dish ones.  Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 1-2 hours before serving. This short chill time is one benefit of tartlets; they cool much faster than a big pie does. Enjoy! lemon tartlet side view

Meringue topping

three egg whites, room temperature

¼ tsp. cream of tarter

sprinkle of salt

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Beat the whites, sea salt and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white. I do think for the tartlets that an extra egg white would make the topping thicker. Up to you bakers!

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

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. Add the cut up butter, as it melts in stir a bit and add the lemo extract. When butter is melted pour the filling 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.

Meyer Lemon Tart: Tarts are Pies with No Lid

My brother Robert sends me a big box of, just picked, fat and juicy Meyer lemons from his trees late every fall.   This year he sent me a second box this past weekend; 24 big fat lemons! Homegrown, juicy: they are a cooks dream.  Their flavor is sweet; not that usual tart of lemons, with a gorgeous floral scent.  They are perfect in cookies like the lemon squares every one loves, which I make gf now a days. I also make lemon meringue pie, lemon marmalade, lemonade, a classic French lemon tart and this delicate buttermilk tart with a baked filling which I am sharing with you today. Yes, another in my year of pies.  Did I mention that tarts are just shallow pies with no lids? Yeap. They count as pies….in my world anyway!

This tart is very simple to construct; far and away the easiest lemon item I bake. I use a shortbread cookie style gf press and pre bake it and the filling is just whisked together and poured into the partially baked crust.  So easy to make and it goes great with a big spoonful of fresh real whipped cream.  Although I actually prefer a dollop of plain organic low fat yogurt, just about as tasty and hugely more healthy. Sometimes I lay slices of Meyer lemon down the length of it when I use my special rectangular tart pan.  Sensational looking and as yummy as it looks.  A round tart pan works great too. I have used a regular gf pie crust which is a tasty alternative to the cookie crust.

Simple, tasty,  and impressive looking – you could make it with regular lemons but I suspect it would need more sugar to make it sweet enough as Meyer lemons are far sweeter than the grocery store lemons. Maybe 2/3 cup of sugar instead of a half cup. Don’t be scared off by the buttermilk.  You will never know it is even in the filling; totally blends in.

If you want to use all purpose flour in your crust and in the filling – go right ahead.  I have been making this tart long before I went gluten free.

Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Tart

Cookie Tart Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mixture (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold butter cut up into 6 or 7 chunks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tsp. water

Directions:

Mix the dry ingredients in your stand mixer, add the butter, blend with the paddle blade until the butter is small pebbles.  Add the vanilla and water.  Press into a tart pan with a removable bottom, be sure to first spray the pan with cooking spray.  Par-bake 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool 10-20 minutes before filling and baking.

Filling

¾ cup low fat buttermilk: let it warm up for 15 minutes before mixing

½ cup granulated sugar

2 lg eggs, warm them to room temperature

6 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice

2 tbsp flour (I use sweet rice, white rice flour or a blend)

1-2 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel

Mix all filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Pour into crust and bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 min; until just barely set.  Cool completely and refrigerate until chilled.  Can decorate tart with thin slices of Meyer lemon leaves. Serve slices topped with a dollop of this lightly sweetened cream.  Or a spoonful of organic low fat yogurt; very healthy but surprisingly satisfying.  Pairs well with the tangy sweet of the tart.

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Topping:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp powdered sugar

Beat cream, add powdered sugar.  Serve a dollop with each slice of tart. Or top with a healthy spoonful of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt, 2 percent or whole milk yogurt.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

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Filling recipe modified slightly from one found on food network.com, flour mix and crust from Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook: Gluten – Free Baking Classics.

Reposted from mt original post in December 2014.

Lemon Velvet Pie…Heavenly Treat

I hereby declare 2016 the Year of the Pie.  I plan to post a pie recipe every single week.  Well, maybe some of them will be tarts, galettes, tartlets and rustic tarts but all in the pie clan!  Since I want to eat less sugary desserts I am going to step away from cakes and turn to something my family all adores.  Pie.  It’s time to make more pies.  Full of fruit pies, nut tarts, citrus chiffon pies, jam tarts, and chocolate pies of all sorts.  Pie and more pie.  Sounds delightful doesn’t it?

My first entry is something out of my Farm Journal’s Best Ever Pie Cookbook published in 1981.  My dear sister Margie gave it to me a long time ago and I have baked a number of sweet pie treats out of it. This is a lemon pie but unlike any I have ever made.  It is called a lemon velvet pie.  I think of it as a puffy lightly lemon cloud of a treat.  Impressive and delicious. My guy is already bugging me to make it again for him and I just made it yesterday! Actually he saw the recipe and asked me to make it so I did.  It has a lot of elements to it but no step is that difficult to conquer. It might strike you as the offspring of the union of a chiffon pie and lemon meringue pie!  Anyway, it is melt in your mouth and delicate especially if you make it with Meyer lemon as I did.

Per my New Year’s promise I did cut the sugar down quite a bit.  This filling is naturally gluten free.  My wheat eating friends can use a regular pie shell to make this treat.  I am betting it might be also great with my cookie/tart pie crust. This pie will be the talk of your next gathering if you whip it up!

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Here are some impromptu shots as I made this pie: the crust, yeap I see those cracks! No matter…covered up by the pie filling. And yes; the top layer refused to totally spread out for me.  Next time I might warm it a tad so it spreads smoothly. But it is one tasty pie!lemon velvet pie 005

lemon velvet pie 007lemon velvet pie 009lemon velvet pie 012lemon velvet pie 013lemon velvet pie 014

Lemon Velvet Pie

2/3 cup of sugar (can add another 1/3 cup if you like it sweet)

6 tbsp. corn starch

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups cold water

2 eggs separated

2 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. lemon zest, grated fresh

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. (1 packet) unflavored gelatin

¼ cup cold water

1 cup light cream

A baked 9 inch pie shell

1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 2-3 tbsp. powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions; bake the pie crust and let cool. See any of my past pie blog posts for a crust recipe.  I bake it about 20-25 minutes until it is light brown.

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in 1 ½ to 2 qt saucepan, stir in water, cook over medium heat until it thickens and mounds when dropped from a spoon; stirring constantly. Might take 3-5 minutes.  Stir a couple of spoons of it into the two stirred up egg yolks. Add right back into pan and stir well, cook 2 minutes on low stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter, stir, add the zest, lemon juice and vanilla, stir well. Remove one cup of filling and set aside.

Soften gelatin in the cold water for 5 minutes.  Add to the remaining hot filling in pan, stir to dissolve it.  Gradually stir in light cream, cool slightly to firm a bit.

Beat egg whites until firm and glossy, using electric mixer at high speed.  Fold into the pan of cooling filling.  I used a rubber spoonula. Pour mixture into baked pie shell, Refrigerate 15 minutes.  Top with the remaining cup of plain filling you set aside.  It will be thick; I put small spoonfuls all over the top.  Chill in fridge at least 2 hours to set the pie.

Whip the cream, add some powdered sugar and vanilla to sweeten lightly and serve slices with big dollops of cream on top.