Friday, January 20, 2006

Fresh Fruit and Lemon Curd Tartlets

Lemon Curd

Adapted From Williams-Sonoma Desserts, The Best of the Kitchen Library 2005
If you’re into preparing Lemon Curd from scratch:

5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk one minute more. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened; don’t let it get too hot or you’ll have scrambled eggs. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Makes about 1 cup. Refrigerate and let chill completely before using. Will keep about 10 days in refrigerator.
I cheated for this presentation and used Trader Joe’s Prepared Lemon Curd.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

If you’re into preparing a Flaky Tart Pastry Dough:
Tart pastry is firm and crumbly rather than the flaky dough for pies. This is because it is made with butter.

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter chilled
2 tablespoons cold water

The easiest way to do this is in a food processor.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the food processor bowl. Cut pieces of the butter into tablespoon sizes and drop into the bowl. Process using rapid on and off pulses until the mixture resembles small particles the size of oatmeal flakes. Add one tablespoon of the cold water and process a few more seconds. Add the remaining water and process with a few more pulses. The dough is ready if it forms into a rough mass it is ready. It should not be wet. You can adjust the consistency by adding a little more water if too dry or a little flour if too wet.
Turn dough onto work surface, gather together and form into a disk. Wrap and chill for about 30 minutes before using.

The pastry dough recipe is enough for a 9-inch tart pan.

I cheated again and used Pillsbury Frozen Pastry Dough. Two crusts per pack and I used one of the packages to fill six of the small tartlet shells. Though this manufacturer prepared crust was not made from butter, the tartlet shell was still quite flaky.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface until about 1/8 inch thick and transfer into the shells. Press some of the overhang back around the edge of shell. Trim excess. Prick dough with a fork and bake until browned. Cool tartlet crust before filling.

Fresh Fruit Filling

I used frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Just about any fresh fruit will do. Some larger fruits may need to be cut into smaller pieces, and citrus segments should be supremed (cut from membrane).

Remove browned pastry dough from shells. Spread about a tablespoon of lemon curd in each shell. Arrange the fresh fruit in any pattern or design desired in shell. Ready to serve. Now some of you are wondering why a sugary glaze was not applied to this tartlet. Well, it didn’t need it. The fruit was in season and sweet.

I actually refrigerated a couple of the tartlets overnight. Though they were not as pretty as fresh prepared and the fruit was a bit more ripened the next day, they were still quite good. Best serving suggestion is to eat them all so you won’t have left overs.

I first prepared these tartlets without an audience to eat them. I knew some of the neighborhood kids would be outside sometime soon, so I waited to see them outside and then presented them with this special treat. This is not unusual, as they are my tasting kitchen. Word from them, they were fantastic, make more.

(From Food Got To Love It- June 17, 2005 SHF)

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