Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lemon Tarts

Warning: It is humanly impossible to eat only one of these. Only consume them around other people so your shame can be your guide.
I was going to watch a movie with some girlfriends, and I didn't want to show up at my friend's house empty-handed. Hmmm... girls... movie... tarts. Win! I'd never made these before, so I was excited to see if they were as easy (or tasty) as the recipe made them look. Yes, these were simple. Yes, they were delicious. Yes, they will be repeat visitors in my future.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup flour
In a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until blended; beat in the flour.
Drop dough by scant tablespoons into greased mini-muffin pan; press onto bottoms and up the sides.
Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Curd
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup butter, cubed
In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the eggs, sugar, juice, and peel until blended. Add butter; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a metal spoon. Transfer to a small bowl; cook for 10 minutes. Cover, refrigerate until chilled. Spoon lemon curd into tarts.
Refrigerate leftovers.

This is my station right before filling the tarts with lemon curd goodness. The mixture is in the Small Batter Bowl - so handy to pop the lid on top and store leftovers. The Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan is my best friend for projects like this because it produces stellar results every time. Then there's the Citrus Peeler, one of the most handy tools on the planet. I have one for peeling oranges and one for popping tarts out of my muffin pan. $1.00, people! I used the Cake Pedestal, plate to serve my tarts, but it's not on the stand. That's right, I can remove the plate from the stand and use it as a platter! Also, this really helps with storage and dishwasher-ing.
P.S. That's the Stackable Cooling Rack under the muffin pan.

Do me a favor, and ignore those chocolate chips. I was doing chocolate ganache tarts, but my heavy whipping cream turned out to be... um, less than stellar. It called it quits before the expiration date, but I found out in time to look for a Plan B. But not in time to save myself the embarrassment of chocolate chips making it into my lemon tart photos. Oh, the shame!
Anyway, measuring ingredients ahead of time is a key to kitchen time management. My flour and chips are in the Measuring Cup Set, one of my absolute favorite products. If you like to bake, you have got to get this set! Six cups and a leveler tool: need I say more? I'm using the Mix 'n Scraper and 4-Quart Stainless Mixing Bowl for my tart mixture.

There is no way to do this without the Small Scoop. This batter was so sticky that I would have had nothing but a big mess if I'd filled the cups any other way. Besides that, the scoop measures the tablespoon so I don't have to eyeball anything. Let me also mention that presentation is important for things like tarts, and it looks bad if they're not the same size.

I've never seen a better example of what a scraper can do. If it hadn't been for the Mix 'n Scraper, I would have come up two tarts short. This sticky batter wanted to cling to the bowl, but it was no match for my 10-year-old Mix 'n Scraper. Look how clean that Mixing Bowl is back there! Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan, Small Scoop

This is where it gets fun! To shape the tarts, dip the Mini-Tart Shaper in a little bit of flour, and press it into the dough. Can you imagine shaping 24 of these by hand? Let's just say I wouldn't have chosen this recipe if I hadn't had the right tools. I've got the flour in a 1-Cup Prep Bowl, and I can stick the lid on there and use the flour again later. The Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan and Mini-Tart Shaper are best friends.

Tarts are in the oven, and it's time to make the custard. This is the Bar Board, but it's the old style without rubber grips. The newer one is much better, and you can see from the link. I love this board for small jobs like slicing a lemon or wedging an apple. I used the Zester/Scorer for my lemon rind, and it's measured into an Adjustable Measuring Spoon. My favorite knife of all time, the 5" Santoku, made quick work of the lemons. I promise the Forged Cutlery Collection will change the way you feel about cooking. If you do one thing for yourself, get decent knives.

The Juicer! I'm embarrassed to admit this, but this was my first time to use this amazing product, and I've had it for at least two years. I don't have a good excuse, but it was in the top cabinet with some other freebies the company gave me (I always earn free products when they're released... a consultant benefit), and I forgot about it. When I saw this recipe required 1/2 cup of juice instead of a couple of tablespoons, I figured the Citrus Press, my go-to tool, wouldn't cut it. Once I opened the Juicer, felt the quality, and saw how amazing it was, I kicked myself for ignoring it so long. The measurements are right on the container, so there's no need to juice, pour, measure, etc. The bottom even has a nonskid ring to keep me from chasing it all over the counter!

Ok, I have to show you how amazing this Juicer really is! There's even a pour spout you can change to either strain or flow freely. I should be shot for ignoring this gem of a tool. I cooked the custard in the 3-Qt. Saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection. I can't say enough about this cookware, but recipes like this lemon curd make me realize the importance of even heat distribution. There's nothing like a solid, heavy pan for a mixture that's begging to scorch.

The curd has to be mixed together and stirred constantly while it cooks. With the Executive's non-stick coating, it's important to avoid metal tools. Hello, Silicone Whisk! The whisks we have are among my favorite products, and this one is awesome. It was with this whisk that I made my mom's breakfast gravy for the first time, and that makes it a winner.
Let me know if you make these tarts! I've decided the tarts themselves will be the perfect base for all kinds of things this spring and summer. Maybe a non-spoiled heavy cream chocolate ganache will be among them.

Like the products you saw used?
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