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Little Lemon Tarts

I have been so looking forward to sharing this recipe here on Very Vanilla. Over three years ago I learned how to make a classic, and beautiful Lemon Tart at Michel Roux Jr’s cookery school. And it was the catalyst that sparked a realisation I wanted to pursue baking as more than just a hobby.


I am terrible for harbouring self doubt and I suppose it has taken me this long to stop saying, not yet, I'll wait until this has finished, or the children get to their next big milestones, but if I don't make the leap, they will be packing for University before I actually do anything, and even then I would probably decide to get a dog or start a home improvement project!


So I owe the Classic Roux Lemon Tart a big favour for giving me the inspiration I needed to help start my baking journey. I hope my adaptation, with these pretty miniature versions, go a little way to doing just that.


With their sweet and tangy lemon curd filling, that perfectly compliments the Vanilla-enhanced Sable pastry base, these lemon tarts are the perfect accompaniment to any dinner party, family gathering or for a rather indulgent night in! The recipe can be easily halved to cater for two, or doubled up to make more, depending on the occasion. You can even abandon the idea of little tarts and use the same quantity to make one large tart - I would recommend using a loose bottom tart tin so you can easily present it on a pretty plate once set, but any quiche or tart tin will work well.

Because they are baked gently on a very low heat, these little lemon tarts are quite hard to over-bake but be prepared to spend a little bit of time with your nose pressed up against the glass of the oven looking for the moment where the curd has the right amount of wobble! You need to get it to the point where it is slightly wobbly - but not overly wobbly - a slight shudder is perfect (or the temperature of the curd has reached 70 degrees if you have a whizzy digital thermometer in your bakers kit). 


What I love most about these tarts is that you can be quite creative in how you decorate them. A simple addition of some sifted icing sugar over the top gives a classic finish, or adding fresh raspberries and a sprinkling of crushed meringue works well too. For these tarts I added some candied lemon peel, bashed pistachios, edible flowers and meringue kisses (I will be sharing a recipe for these on a later date!). The hero are the tarts themselves and anything extra that you add should only accentuate their beauty and give a little textural diversity.


An added bonus with this recipe is that both the raw pastry, baked tart cases, and any leftover uncooked lemon filling can be frozen and used at a later date. Just defrost thoroughly before using, and if rolling out raw pastry you will need to let it rest until the dough is soft enough to roll out. The tarts are best eaten on the day they are made, served at room temperature. If you're making them ahead, store in the fridge and bring to room temperature one hour before serving.



Another presentation tip, if you freeze whole raspberries, you can break them into little berry pieces which look great sprinkled over the tarts and dusted with icing sugar just before you serve them


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