Cooking Spree: Little Lemon Curd Tartlets

      Little Lemon Curd Tartlets
      Posted on February 19, 2013 by spree

      The Curd: (makes 1 pint)

      Lemons - 2 or 3
      Sugar - 1/2 cup
      Eggs - 3 - lightly beaten
      Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (4 oz/125g)
      Optional: Lemon Extract - 1/2 teaspoon

      Cut the butter into small cubes. Finely grate the zest of one lemon. Set aside and cover. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/3 cup.

      Place a non-reactive, heat-proof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Be certain that the bowl doesn't touch the water. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and eggs (lightly beaten) to the bowl and whisk or stir continuously. Add the butter, a few small cubes at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Continue stirring until all the butter has been incorporated and the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. (10 - 15 minutes)

      Pour the curd into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl and stir until the silky lemony pudding has made its way to the bowl below. Stir in the zest (and lemon extract if you like - I do) and then set aside to cool.

      The Crust: makes 4 tartlet shells

      Gingersnap crumbs - 1 3/4 cups (5 oz/155g)
      Unsalted Butter - 5 Tablespoons
      All-purpose Flour - 1/4 cup
      Optional - Powdered Ginger - 1/2 teaspoon

      Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) and butter four 4 1/2 inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms.

      In a food processor, combine the gingersnap crumbs and flour; drop in the butter. Pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture begins to clump together. (It's unlikely, but is dependent on your brand of snap - if the mixture is too "dusty" and doesn't cling together, add another pat of butter.) Remove the mixture from the processor, divide into 4 equal parts, and press into the pans - first onto the bottom and secondly up the sides.

      (I find that a heaping soup-spoon full onto the bottom, then evened out and pressed with the back of the spoon works well. I then hold the tartlet pan more or less upright over the bowl and with my fingers pick up crumbs enough to fill that section, press them in, then turn the pan to add more. This helps evenly distribute the crust and avoid thickness at the seam.)

      Place the filled tartlet pans on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven until the crusts are set and begin to lightly brown. (7 minutes in my oven - maybe up to 9.) Transfer carefully to a wire rack and allow to cool.

      Remove the shells from their pans by gently pushing up on the bottom disk. Spoon the lemon curd into the shells.

      Serve - with a dollop of sweetened creme fraiche or whipped cream to which has been added a drizzle of vanilla extract and enough confections sugar to please you. Alternately, you can place on top a few raspberries, blueberries, or sliced sweet strawberries (if it's summer where you are.) Or a few slices of bright green kiwi. In any event, sprinkle with lemon zest to finish.