This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe has the longest title yet. =) The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart is brought to us by Mary of Starting From Scratch. I love all things lemon, so I figured this would be a winner. I was right--wow, is the filling delicious! I was a bit taken aback, though, by the large amount of butter in the finished 9-inch tart (almost a pound between the crust and filling). Since we're still recovering from the butterlicious frosting on the Perfect Party Cake, I wanted to find a way to cut back on this one a bit.
Since I've joined Tuesdays with Dorie, I have repeatedly been intrigued by the miniature versions of just about everything that have been made by the members of this fantastic baking group. I gave it a try with my mini Gooey Chocolate Cakes, but they weren't much too look at. (yummy, though!) This time I wanted to come up with something tasty and cute with the added benefit of a small portion size. I think I succeeded, except for the whole portion thing--it's really hard to stop with just one. =)
I'm glad I read the experiences of some of the other TWD bakers before I started. Since a number of people had a hard time getting the cream mixture up to temperature, I made sure that I used a metal bowl.
I’m not sure mine got all the way to 180 degrees. It definitely got over 165, but I didn’t get a look at the final temp because it thickened all of a sudden and I was whisking like crazy to make sure it didn’t scramble or anything.
I strained it into my blender, let it cool a bit, and blended in the butter. Even before chilling, it was pretty thick.
I've made tart dough and other pastry quite a bit, so I didn't have any problems with that part of the recipe. As always, Dorie's instructions are quite detailed and descriptive. I had to experiment with how long to cook the mini tarts, but I think they turned out pretty well.
I'll definitely be making these again. Brianna has already asked me if I can make them in orange.
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Mini Tarts
(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
The recipe for the lemon cream can be found here, in Dorie Greenspan's column for Serious Eats. I made a half recipe, which only took 6-7 minutes to thicken.
For the tart dough:
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in--you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses--about 10 seconds each--until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change--heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
At this point, I divided the dough in two portions (about 6 1/2 ounces each) and froze half for a later use. I divided one portion into 12 pieces (about 1/2 ounce each). I pressed the pieces into the 12 cups of a mini muffin pan. I froze the dough in the pan overnight.
The next day, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F. I removed the pan from the freezer and placed it on a baking sheet. I loosely covered the pan with foil. I baked the tarts until they started to look dry and a bit puffed, about 13 minutes. I then removed the foil, pressed the crusts back down where they had puffed, and baked them until browned, about 8 minutes more. I transferred the muffin pan to a rack to cool completely.