Every summer, my family has what we like to call our “Jamaica Party.” Basically, we recreate the dishes and drinks we enjoyed during vacations in Jamaica. February-March is usually the time we would go on vacation, and because we don’t have Jamaica as a travel destination this year, we decided to just have another party instead.
Because the fruit choices available in March are quite different than those in August (when we usually have our party), I decided to make lemon tarts instead of my usual fruit tarts. To balance the tangy flavor of the lemon curd, I opted for a shortbread crust instead of my usual pastry crust. What’s especially nice about the shortbread crust is there is no rolling pin involved – you simply press the dough into the tart pans.
Lemon Tarts with Raspberries
makes 6 individual tarts
for the lemon curd
2 T lemon zest
2/3 c sugar
2/3 c lemon juice
1/4 c lime juice
3 whole eggs (large), at room temp
4 egg yolks (large), at room temp
4 T cold butter, diced
for the shortbread
12 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1. Fill a medium saucepan 3/4 of the way full with cold water and heat over medium heat. Make an ice bath (ice and cold water) with a medium-sized bowl, set aside.
2. Zest the lemons and combine the zest and vanilla sugar in the food processor and blitz for about a minute to make lemon sugar.
3. Juice the lemons and limes, set aside.
4. In a heatproof glass bowl, combine the lemon sugar, eggs, and egg yolks, and whisk for about 30 seconds. Place bowl over simmering water for another 15 seconds, or until sugar melts. Pour in lemon/lime juice. Whisk until curd is the consistency of sour cream and reaches 160 F (this takes me about nine minutes). Remove from heat and start whisking in the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated (you can also use a food processor to mix in the butter, about 2 T at a time). Pour the curd through a sieve to remove any zest or lumps. Place bowl in ice bath and place sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd.
The curd can be refrigerated up to a week ahead of time.
for the shortbread
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar, mix on medium-low until fluffy. Add the flour and salt, beat on low until the mixture just comes together.
3. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Press the dough into each tart pan and up the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Cover with plastic wrap (it won’t melt) and fill with pie weights or beans.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, remove pie weights and plastic wrap. Prick each tart several times, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden.
Cool completely and remove from tart pans before filling with curd and garnishing with berries.
Lemon Curd adapted from The Secrets of Baking
Shortbread adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook