Monday, May 2, 2011

Saturday Celebration Lemon Tarts

Category: Desserts
Difficulty Rating: Easy-Medium

" The Queen of Hearts, she baked some tarts, all on a summer's day...". At our church, we used to have these events called "Saturday Celebrations". They started out as "Mother-Daughter Tea's" but then moved on to be more than tea. One year, I coordinated "Tea in the Garden", including the food. We had about $400. to spend on food for 300 women, so we ended up with quiche, some kind of salad, and these lovely little tarts. I used the least expensive lemon curd recipe I could find and it was really really good! Putting whupped cream on top cut the sweet and made it fabulous! This is from "The Doubleday Cookbook" circa 1979.

Ingredients for Lemon Curd:

1 C butter
2 C sugar
3 T finely grated lemon rind
2/3 C lemon juice
1/8 t salt
4 eggs

Garnish: 2 C whipping cream, 1/8 t vanilla, 1 T sifted powdered sugar, and chocolate "jimmies".

Directions:

Melt butter on the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add sugar, lemon rind, juice and salt and stir until sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes. Beat eggs just until frothy, mix in 1 C lemon mixture, return to double boiler and cook and stir 7-9 minutes until thick. Ladle into small jars or a mixing bowl , cover and cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator until ready to use as a filling for tart, cakes, pies, sweet rolls, or as a spread for toast or bagels.

Note: If after refrigeration your curd doesn't get thick enough, you can always pour off the clear liquid on top and stick it in a pot back on the stove. Warm it up, then sift a couple of tablespoons flour into it and cook a few more minutes. Cool and it should be fine.

Ingredients for Tart Shells:

6 oz ( 2 small packages) cream cheese or low-fat cream cheese
1 C butter or margarine
2 C sifted all-purpose flour

Directions:

Let cream cheese and butter soften to room temperature. Blend together. Stir in flour. Chill about 1 hour. Shape into 1 inch balls and place into muffin tins. Press dough evenly against bottoms and sides of each. Bake at 325 until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven, cool in pans and remove to fill.

To Assemble Tarts:

Fill cooled tart shells with cooled lemon curd. I use a teaspoon, but if you have lots of piping equipment, pipe the filling in. Then whip a couple of cups of whipping cream and add a little (1/8 t) vanilla and a T of sifted powdered sugar at the end. Pipe or spoon whipping cream onto the tarts and decorate with chocolate "jimmies" (sprinkles) or grated lemon rind.

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