On countless occasions I saw first time customers scan the array of cakes, brownies, muffins and biscuits we had on offer. I knew the moment they spotted the lemon tarts: their head moved left, right and then stopped. Often they bought one and then returned to buy bulk. What’s so good about them you ask? They’re handmade and yes it’s that simple.
For the pastry:
1 cup of plain flour
62.5 g of chopped cold butter
1 1/2 tsp of caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp of lemon rind
2 tbs of iced water
For the lemon filling:
80 g of cream cheese softened
1 egg yolk
1 tbs of lemon juice
1 tsp of lemon zest
1/4 cup of condensed milk
Lemon rind for garnish
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a bowl combine sifted flour and salt and butter. Rub the butter in the flour using your fingertips until the flour is a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add sugar, lemon rind, egg yolk and water. Using a small spatula or butter knife, mix until it starts to come together.
Lightly dust the bench and turn dough out onto it. Gently knead to gather the dough into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes.
Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tray.
Using a food processor, add cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and beat until smooth and thickened. Add condensed milk, lemon juice and zest and beat until combined.
Take the dough out of the fridge and place between two sheets of baking paper. Roll out pastry to 3-4 mm thick. Take a 7cm round pastry cutter (or whichever size fits your muffin tray) and press out 12 rounds. Gently place each pastry round into the tray. Lightly prick each base with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
Lower the oven to around 160 degrees.
Spoon 2-3 tsp of lemon filling into each pastry. Leave a 1 mm gap from the lip. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the filling has set. It should be slightly wobbly but not browned or cracked.
Leave to cool before removing from tray.
Grate some fresh lemon zest over the top of each pastry.
Photo © M. Williams 2015
© M. Williams 2017