Sunday, June 13, 2010


I don't know if you've ever read Amelia Bedelia books, but that lady is a moron. I was pondering this exact topic the other day and I couldn't figure out why I used to love the books so much as a kid, because while I'm sure her stupidity used to amuse me, I can't imagine it being anything but irritating. My favorite part is that everytime the family comes home they don't mind at all that she put the turkey in a dress and hung the lightbulbs from the clotheslines. Just so long as she made tarts.

Then it hit me. The tarts. That's why I was so into those books. Her freaking tarts always looked so perfect. No wonder the family neverminded (huh?) coming home to a "dressed" turkey! I was also into cooking and baking as a kid and I think I used to dream of making tarts that looked like hers.

A few hours after I first realized this, my sister called me to ask if I wouldn't mind making some baked goods for her turn as goodie-bringer at her church. Naturally, my first thought was tartlettes like Amelia's. (And lime cupcakes with ginger syrup and white chocolate buttercream frosting! Post to come.) Since I am still not over my cherry obsession, I went with blueberry and cherry lemon tartlettes. Soon, I promise I will make something that does not contain lime, cherry, or lemon.

Originally, I was going to use the Mini Blueberry Tartlette recipe from Chocolate Shavings, but to tell the truth, anytime anyone says that a tart dough is perfect for beginners, I instantly assume it's sub-par. Counter-intuitive snobbery, I know.

And the other part of the truth is.. you guys, I am growing completely attached to that pie dough recipe from the cherry pies. I always get tons of rave reviews on it. Its so perfectly buttery and crumbly and... oh man.... anyway. if it's not broke.

I cannot stop taking pictures of em!

So I decided instead to take the basic skeleton of her recipe and use different tried & true recipes for the different elements of the recipe.

To better explain that, I used the pie crust recipe from my mini cherry pies (Originally from Zoom Yummy), Chocolate Shavings' pastry creme recipe with some changes to make it lemon pastry creme, the lemon curd recipe from Pie In The Sky (used in my lemon tart with ginger cardamom crust) and then brushed them with a lemon simple syrup from a Donna Hay cookbook.

phew! Make more sense? Maybe not. Here's the recipe (or recipes) then! Don't let the many steps stop you, it really is a quite easy recipe. Also, Keep in mind that I was making this for a lot of people, so you might want to scale down the recipe. If you do, feel free to keep the lemon curd and pastry creme recipes at the same amount. It might have been nice to have more filling. Plus, how can it hurt to keep both around the house a little, right? right.

Recipe Soundtrack: "Fables" by the Dodos

Inspired by
Chocolate Shavings
Makes about 22

For the Crust-
2 1/2 cups (325g) flour, all-purpose
2 sticks (220g) Butter, cold
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water, cold

Place the flour, butter, sugar, salt and water into the bowl of your electric mixer. (I used a food processor, which worked fabulously.) Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then work with your hands until the dough comes together and you’ve formed a nice, compact ball. Place the dough into a bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the Lemon Pastry Creme-
2 cups of whole milk
Zest of 1 lemon
1 sqeeze of lemon juice
4 egg yolks
75 grams of sugar
20 grams of flour
20 grams of cornstarch

Separate the eggs and combine the yolks with the sugar. Whisk until the mixture turn a yellow pale of yellow (about 3 minutes). In a separate bowl, stir the cornstarch and flour together and add it to the sugar-yolk mixture. Stir to remove any lumps. In the meantime, bring the milk, zest, and lemon juice to a boil. Stir occasionally. As soon as the milk starts boiling, add a ladle of hot milk to the egg mixture and stir vigorously (this ensures that the eggs won't curdle). Add all the egg mixture into the milk mixture and whisk until the mixture thickens. This take 1-3 minutes. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture thickens. Place the pastry cream in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the cream (this prevents the formation of a skin). Let the pastry cream cool.

For the Lemon Curd:
4 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup sugar

Whisk yolks and eggs together in small bowl. Combine lemon juice, butter, and 1/2 cup sugar in top of double-boiler. Set pan over simmering water (medium-low heat); whisk until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk 1/3 of hot butter mixture into eggs, then whisk mixture back into bowl with remaining butter mixture set over simmering water. Whisk constantly until custard thickens enough to hold marks of whisk, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Pour lemon curd through strainer set over medium bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of lemon curd; chill overnight.

For The Lemon Simple Syrup-
(Optional - This also makes candied lemon peel)
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded lemon rind

Place water and sugar is saucepan over low heat, Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add rind, increase heat, and boil for 6-8 minutes or until the rind is glossy and transparent. Keep in the refrigerator. (This goes well over cakes and the candied peel is great garnish)

Halved & Pitted Bing Cherries
(or whatever other in season fruit you feel like!)


I made the lemon curd, syrup and pastry creme a day or 2 in advance. (More on that below)

Once the crust has been refrigerated for an hour, butter a cupcake pan and preheat your oven to 375ºF. Start taking out small pieces of the crust dough at a time, a handful works fine. Roll these out on a floured surface to about 1/8" thick. cut a rough circle and place it in to the cupcake mold, cutting off the excess.

Once you have all the cupcake cups filled, (this is a pain in the ass in the beginning, but once you've done a couple dozen, you'll love it, :) trust me... but. i'm serious.) Cut little squares or circles out of parchment paper - slightly bigger than the cupcake molds - and fit them on top of your unbaked pastry cups. It works great to just fold up a big sheet of parchment paper and cut it so you end up with a bunch of the same size sqaures. Fill with pie weights, beans, or rice. (I keep a little jar of rice that I use for this purpose only.) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the tart turn a light shade of golden brown. Let the tartelettes cool for a couple minutes, remove the weights and parchment paper and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Once all have cooled, mix the lemon curd and pastry creme together and fill the shells. One spoonful per shell will be plenty. You don't want to fill them all the way.

Garnish with blueberries, cherries, or whatever you choose and brush the tops with lemon syrup. (This is a bit annoying too, as the brushing moves the berries around a little if you stack them high like I did, but it's worth it. The lemon syrup will add the to lemon flavor AND act as a kind of glue for the berries. - Not a completely reliable glue, but a glue none the less. Let's stick to the flavor part. Yeah, it really adds to the flavor.)

Serve Immediately or keep in the fridge until serving. These keep pretty well. Speaking of which:

Make ahead-

I made the pastry creme and syrup one day, then the shells and lemon curd the next day and assembled them the day after that. It's an awesome way to break it up a little if you feel the need to. Plus, all of these ingredients really keep well. The shells do great out on the counter with a bit of plastic wrap or a paper towel over them (to keep dust and debris away - if you're like me, kitchen debris is an issue.)

And TADA! A lifelong dream, accomplished!

No really though, you should try these. They are delicious and adorable.

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