Who doesn't love pie? Whether it's a pie made from beautifully ripe apples or juicy berries, or a pie featuring a luxurious custard or silky mousse filling, what's not to love about succulent sweetness encased in a flaky, buttery pastry?
Last Saturday, I got some beautiful lemons at the farmers market, so I could make some more mayo. A small batch of mayo doesn't require very much lemon juice though, so I still need some more lemon-centric dishes. Lemon curd is probably on its way, but first, a refreshing lemony tart.
I should have blind-baked this pastry a bit longer so that it'd be more golden-brown, but it was delicious nonetheless.
A lot of people claim that they can't make pies at home because pie crust is too hard. Sure, pastry can be delicate. It takes some practice so that you can develop a feel for it, but there is nothing quite like being able to turn out a beautiful, flaky pastry. For some fantastic tips on making a better pie crust, go to King Arthur Flour.
Mini Lemon Tarts
Makes two 4-inch tarts
For the pastry*:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ice water
For the filling:
- 1/4 of a lemon, rind and all, seeds removed
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- lemon juice
1. Make the pastry: Sift the flour, salt and sugar together, and cut the butter into small cubes and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Alternately, you can use a food processor or a pastry knife.
2. Dribble the ice water in until the dough clumps together into a ball. I think I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons. It's better to add a bit of a time - it's easier to add more water to a too-dry dough than it is to remove moisture form a too-wet dough.
3. Once you can press the dough into a ball and it holds itself together without being sticky, sandwich the ball of dough between two sheets of waxed paper, placing it in a ziplock bag and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
5. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and using a bowl that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than your tart pans, cut out 2 circles and lay them in the tart pans. Place a layer of aluminum foil into each tart shell and line it with pie weights or dried beans to help keep the pastry from buckling and bubbling up. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, then take out and let cool on the cookie sheet.
6. Make the filling by blending together the lemon, rind and all, egg, sugar and butter in a blender until thoroughly processed. This could take up to 3 minutes. Strain if needed to get any stubborn pieces that refuse to give up the ghost.
7. Pour the filling into the tart shells. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until the filling has set.
8. Cool the pans on racks.
9. To serve: Mix the blueberries with a teaspoon of lemon juice and roll in sugar. Top the tarts with the sugared blueberries and enjoy.
- This pastry recipe made enough for three 4-inch tarts, but the filling only made two tarts. I made a mini quiche for my lunch with the third tart. :)
- I need a Vita-Mix blender or something, because it took forever for the lemon rind to get blended, even then, I had to strain the mix to get out some fairly large chunks.
Pastry scraps. What to do with that leftover pie pastry that you can't stretch into another tart shell?
Well, don't throw them out! Roll those pieces out thin and dust liberally with cinnamon and sugar, set them on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes or so or until the bottoms are golden-brown. Careful, these burn quickly. Eat while hot, straight off the cookie sheet.
My dad, who was a child during the Great Depression, said his mom called these sugar pies. I bet that they were a welcome treat for kids during lean times.
Fresh sugar pies
A closer look at the cinnamon sugar. Tweet