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Mini French Lemon Tarts  

This recipe from France based chef Suzanne Dunnaway is zestily moreish…

Let me give you the most wonderful quick butter tart pastry you will ever use. No rolling out, no cold butter, no gentle handling. This tart pastry is from an elderly French woman who clearly wanted to have time for other things!

If you have a shallow muffin pan the tarts are easier to make, but if you wish to use the dough in a larger tart pan, simply press the dough into the pan and up the sides and bake it as you would the tiny ones in blind-baked shell and then spoon in the curd and bake again until the dough is set and the top is golden brown.

This amazing easy to make dough is rich and light and needs only a quick press into the muffin molds.

TART PASTRY:

180g/6 ounces butter (6 oz)
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon duck fat (optional!)
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups flour (300g, 10 oz)

LEMON CURD:

3/4 cup sugar (220g, ½ pound)
½ cup lemon juice (125ml, 4 oz, about 3 lemons)
zest from 1 lemon, grated
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 stick of soft butter
pinch of salt

Over low heat, mix all the ingredients below except the butter and when the mix is thickened, remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to make a thick curd. Let it cool before spooning into the tart shells. You can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Or freeze it.

To make the lemon tarts

Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F.

To make the dough: Put all of the ingredients except the flour into an ovenproof dish and place in the oven until the mixture bubbles, about 5-10 minutes, then dump in the flour and stir the dough until all is incorporated.

Let the dough cool a few minutes and then form the tart shells.

Put a heaped teaspoon of dough into one mini muffin hole and press it into the base and up the sides using your fingers to make a tart shell.

Prick the bottoms of the tart shells and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Lower the oven to 185C/350F.

Spoon the curd into the tart shells, leaving a delicate rim of pastry showing. Bake the tarts in the heated oven  for about 8-10 minutes or until the curd is set and tart shells are golden brown.

Suzanne Dunnaway is the author of No Need To Knead, Handmade ItalianBreads in 90 Minutes (Hyperion); Rome, At Home, The Spirit of la cucina romana in Your Own Kitchen (Broadway Books); No Need to Knead (Metric/American version-Grub Street Publishers, London).

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