New Year's Nibbles - Part II

New Year's Nibbles - Part II

Lemon tarts in flaky pastry Flaky Pastry

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening, or ½ cup shortening and 8 tablespoons (one stick) cold unsalted butter

Add the flour, sugar and salt to food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix.   Cut the butter into small pieces (1 inch cubes) and add to the processor.  Pulse the mixture until you have pea-sized pieces.

Drizzle 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water over the flour and fat mixture.  Pulse until the mixture looks evenly moistened and begins to form small balls.  Gently press a few small pieces of the mixture together between your fingers.  If the balls of dough stick together, you have added enough water.  If not, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons additional ice water over the mixture.   Note:  the dough should look rough, not smooth, when done.

Divide the dough in half and press each piece into a thick, flat disk.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.   The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 6 months.

Baking the tart shells:  Roll out the pasty and cut to fit the bottom of a small tart pan (or muffin cup).  Press firmly and then bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes (watch to avoid burning!)

Cook's note:  baking the shells upside down will result in flakier pie crust - if pressed firmly to the pan.

Recipe courtesy of Joy of Cooking, All about Pies and Tarts,  Irma S. Rombauer

"For better results - turn the baking process upside down!"

For better results - turn the baking process upside down!
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces

Whisk together the zest, lemon juice, sugar, eggs and a pinch of salt.  Add butter all at once and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 10 minutes.  Immediately pour curd through a fine sieve into a bowl, then chill, covered.

Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine (Epicurious) Top these tarts with simple Whipped cream.

Lemon Tarts in Flaky Pastry

Lemon Tarts in Flaky Pastry