Pondering my citrus options, I came across this recipe in one of my oldest and most-used cookie books, The Complete Cookie Book. I love lemon curd, but have never tried to make it from scratch.
What better time than now?
It didn't come out perfectly, I'll admit. I didn't beat the eggs completely enough before whisking them into everything else, which meant I had bits of egg white that wouldn't incorporate, leaving my curd speckled with cooked albumen. Not the end of the world, I just pick them out, but now that I know that can happen, I'll be more careful next time.
The dots of jam aren't in the original recipe, but I couldn't resist. I had some strawberries and blackberries that were past their prime, so I tried making microwave jam, a technique I ran across in Kitchen Sense, one on the list for my Neglected Cookbook Project. I don't think I let it cook long enough, but it was threatening to boil over the bowl and glop up my microwave, so it's somewhere between a jam and a sauce. It tastes great, though. Don't feel compelled to make your own just for this--if you want, use a bit of regular jam, or just leave it out. They're fine without, I promise.
Finally, the recipe calls for small brioche molds or mini tart pans, which I don't have, so I used a regular muffin tin. I got 24 tarts instead of 36, so clearly, mine are bigger. But I don't think that's a bad thing...
Lemon Cookie Tarts
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (I substituted lemon for an even more lemony experience! Also, I am out of almond.)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- grated zest and juice of one lemon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a teaspoon to scoop otu dough and from in 36 3/4-inch balls. Press a ball of dough into the bottom of a tiny fluted tart pan or brioche mold. Prick the bottom and side of dough to prevent puffing. Place molds on a baking tray and bake until just golden, 15 minutes. Remove molds to wire racks to cool 10 minutes before turning out the cookies.
To make the lemon curd, whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. (Mine didn't take that long, maybe 6 minutes, but I've always suspected my stovetop to be hotter than the recipes think. Also, it may thicken up all at once, so don't leave it alone too long!) Pour into chilled bowl and cool, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate until cold, pressing plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Fill the cookies just before serving. Unfilled cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature; keep the lemon curd refrigerated.