Tuesday, April 13, 2010

fruit tarts with lemon cream

Fresh fruit, zesty sweet lemon cream and a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth shortbread pastry case. What could be more wonderful on the taste buds?

I started with some fresh strawberries, blueberries and kiwi fruit i picked up from the local fruit market. Washed and prepared them and popped them back in the fridge. It doesn't matter if you have too much, you can always snack on the pieces later on =)

Now i searched everywhere for a nice cream or a lemon filling to fill my tarts with....some recipes were a little more complicated or time consuming than i like. I'm pretty positive most things can be made an easy way and still turn out fabulous, hehe. There are of course some exceptions to the rule. Then, thankfully, i found The Joy of Baking and i can't for the life of me remember how i came to that particular web page. I was looking at so many pictures *drooling* and reading so many pages of recipes! (ok, i traced it back to my whimsy on flickr!)

This pastry is wonderful! For someone like me who is just scared of it not turning out, looks for a recipe like this! The only thing is i suffer from hot hands and had to keep cooling them as i softened the dough too fast when pressing into the trays.

But it's simple just mix, press, freeze, bake....done.

Look at them! =D *Happy Dance!*

So here is the pastry part, straight from the page i didn't change a thing!

1 cup (227 grams) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup (72 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch or rice flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Shortbread Tarts: Lightly butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, 36 miniature muffin tins (approximately 2 inch (5 cm) in diameter). Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together (approximately two minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix just until incorporated.

Divide the dough into 36 even pieces and place one ball of dough in the center of each muffin tin. With your fingertips, press the dough up the sides of the individual muffin tin so there is an indentation in the center. Once filled, place the tart pan, with the unbaked shells, in the freezer for about 10 minutes so the shortbread can become firm. (This will help to prevent the shortbread from puffing up during baking.)

Bake for approximately 18 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned. About halfway through the baking time, lightly prick the bottom of each shortbread, with the tines of a fork, if they have puffed up. Check again after another five minutes and prick again if needed. Once they are fully baked, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, remove the tarts from the pan. (These may be made in large quantities and frozen.)

Note: Cornstarch (corn flour) or rice flour replaces some of the all purpose flour to produce a more delicate and fragile shortbread.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese filling, again straight from the page, no changes made!

1-8-oz. (227 grams) package cream cheese - softened
1-14 ounce (396 grams) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

In your food processor or electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and process until smooth. Transfer the filling to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. It is best to make the filling at least a day in advance to give it time to become firm and for all the flavors to mingle.

To serve: Using two small spoons, fill the tart shells with the cream cheese filling. The filled tart shells can be made several hours in advance and refrigerated. Just before serving top with fresh berries or cut up fruit.

Makes about 36 - 2 inch (5 cm) miniature tarts.

*Personal NOTE:- I made 12 x 5cm tarts and 12 x 3cm tarts, that was all there was enough pastry for. I did divide the dough into 36, but used 2 pieces for the 5cm muffin cups and 1 piece for the 3cm mini muffin cups. Maybe i made mine too thick, but they did turn out a treat! No problems here. Unless they meant 36 "mini" 3cm muffin cups, because that i could see the pastry making exactly enough for that size.

I did however add a light sweet lemon glaze to the top of the fruit on the tarts so they didn't dry out and looked a little more...well...fancy, hehe.

1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp lemon juice
150mls water
1/4 cup sugar

Mix the liquids together and slowly add it to the cornflour in a pan, mixing well so it doesn't clump. Slowly bring it to the boil, it will turn clear and thicken nicely, take it off the heat. Let it cool slightly and paint the tops of your fruit tarts. There will be a bit of glaze left-over, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and re-heat in the microwave when needed again.

Again i thank The Joy of Baking for sharing this wonderful recipe! These were scrumptious! Much better than i was expecting! I was even concerned the filling would be too runny but the whipping up thickens it and it sets in the fridge! Overall just the right amount of pastry to cream to fruit and i know i already said it...the pastry melts-in-your-mouth! YUM! Please try these, you won't regret it! I'll be making these for the next party i go to that's for sure!

1 comment:

  1. I've just found your blog via flickr, wonderful tarts!


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