Lemon tarts are the keynote desserts of many European teatime sweet spreads, and ones like these, which are served at teatime aboard Serenity and Symphony, the ships of Crystal Cruise Lines, turn up everywhere. In this recipe the chef uses sweet-tart wild raspberries as a perfect counterpoint to the silkiness of the lemon cream, but you can substitute local berries with equally good results. The ground pistachio garnish adds color, flavor, and texture to the otherwise simple tart, and the chocolate lining adds an element of surprise.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 tablespoon ice water
Lemon Cream Filling
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated gelatin
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 ounces (2 squares) dark chocolate, melted
2 cups wild raspberries
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, heated
1/4 cup ground pistachios
1 To make the pastry put the flour, sugar, salt, and ½ cups butter in a food processor. Process for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and water and process for 5 to 10 seconds, or until the dough just comes together. Dust a work surface with flour. Turn out the dough, form it into a ball, and divide it in half. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2 Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease two 12-well tartlet pans.
Roll each piece of the dough out into a ⅛-inch-thick circle. Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 10 to 12 rounds from each. Fit each into a tartlet pan and cover with a small square of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Discard any pastry scraps.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the beans or weights and paper.
1 To make the filling in a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and thick. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the gelatin to a boil. Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, stir in the lemon zest and juice, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface
to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. In a small bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into the lemon mixture.
2 With a pastry brush, coat the inside of the pastry shells with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set. Divide the lemon cream into each of the tart shells and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Arrange the berries on top of the filling. With a clean pastry brush, coat the berries
with the raspberry jam, then sprinkle with the pistachios.
Makes 20 to 22 tartlets
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Excerpted from Tea and Crumpets by Margaret Johnson. Copyright 2009 by Chronicle Books. Excerpted with permission by Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.