Of all the possible choices when I pick dessert, I almost always go to anything lemon. I just love it. And there is something light and refreshing about lemon. The color of lemon sweets make think spring. It makes me think about the tulips coming up this first full week of spring. It makes me think of the bright, sunny mild days we are having…or if you live in Chicago with me right now, it the same color as the yellow snow, because there is still snow on the ground. How awesome.
Regardless I am happy to tell you that these tarts are sickeningly simple for a couple reasons. First being I think lemon curd is easy to make, as I will show you with the recipe. Second, whatever you don’t use will keep in the fridge for two weeks. And third, if your lazy (like I often am), hung over, busy or too busy shoveling, you can purchase really good lemon curd and skip making your own altogether. Trader Joe’s sells a great chemical free, normal colored lemon curd. Stonewall kitchen also makes a delicious creamy version, but is a lil harder to find. Do not use whatever kind is in the grocery store, Dickinson’s I think it is, it has a metallic taste and is an unnatural yellow that is not found in food outside of maybe corn.
Any berry really lends itself perfectly to this recipe. I would have to say that most often I tend to go blueberry with lemon, partly because they are so easy to get and partly because I love them. But blackberry goes fantastic with lemon and is a pleasant change. Today I used raspberries, because, well, I had them in the fridge and they are perfect.
I hope you try making the lemon curd, it really is delicious and you can fill cupcakes, fill other tarts without even cooking, make a meringue pie, or a ricotta tart with what all the extra on a moment’s notice. I mean, it snowing for God’s sake, what else are you going to do.
Lemon Raspberry Tarts
Your favorite pie crust (or in my case Trader Joe’s wonderful butter pie crust)
One cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher
A stick and a half of unsalted butter
Fresh raspberries (for the small tarts I put five in each, if you are making one big one, use your judgment)
If making the small tarts, cut the dough to fit tarts pans with removable bottoms and press into pans. If making a bug one, just press your dough into the big pan. Prebake the shells till lightly browned.
To make the curd begin by zesting the lemons into a large bowl. Combine lemon juice, sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat over low heat until warm and all the butter is melted and incorporated.
In a separate bowl whisk together the whole eggs and the yolks. When the juice mixture is warm, slowly (I mean it, you don’t want scrambled egg curd) pour about half the juice mixture into the yolks whisks feverishly. Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the juice and cook, always stirring until the mixture is thickened, like a custard. Strain the curd through a mesh strainer, pushing it through with a spatula, into the bowl of zest. Make sure to clean off your spatula and then scrape all the curd off the bottom of the strainer…don’t waste any!!
Cool the curd. If you stop here for the day, keep this covered in the fridge for up two weeks.
Pour the cooled curd into the tart shell, a little more than halfway, cause it will bubble up when you bake it. Place the raspberries on top and bake for about 15 minutes at 350, the curd should lightly jiggle and appear set when you gently shake the tart pan. Cool completely on a rack before dusting with powdered sugar and eating.