I've been out of the loop lately, because my Hunny Dave had his wisdom teeth out on Monday. We paid for it ourselves because we don't have private health insurance. Sadly, we are not secret billionaires, we just save what we can for unexpected costs.
Of course, anyone who's had their wisdom teeth out would know, there's a radical change of diet involved. The awful fast before the operation itself, then the daily meals of soft foods afterwards - but he's doing really well on the soft foods, because it's winter here and perfect soup weather! Overall, I think he's recovering as well as, if not better than could be expected.
Before the fast for surgery began on Sunday night however, I promised to make him something yummy. Something that would see him through the radical diet shift period. I think my lemon tarts went down a treat!
These were inspired by another blog I read (you know who you are) and an abundance of lemons on my tree. I merely made a short crust pastry and filled it with lemon butter. I will cover the pastry here and how I made it, but will leave the lemon butter recipes for the filling, for you to find one you like.
I made this one, from Rhonda's down to earth blog for these tarts, because it used more butter and eggs than my recipe called for. I thought it would taste nicer, but found the smaller quantities of lemon, diluted the flavour I so adore. That doesn't make Rhonda's recipe faulty, it may be perfect for those who cannot tolerate highly acidic food. But next time I will stick to my own lemon butter recipe, because I like lemon that makes your hair curl flavour, LOL.
Feel free to look for other recipes for lemon butter/curd available on the net too. It's important to pick one you like, because these tarts are fiddly enough to warrant a super delicious filling.
On to the pastry and how I made the shells. - I used a regular 12 cup muffin pan. Measuring the individual cup base with a ruler, it was around 5cms. The cutter I used was around 7cms. This worked perfectly.
The recipe itself is straight forward:
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125g) shortening
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
squeeze lemon juice
This is my basic rich short-crust recipe, but it's important to note I do change it. I use regular salted butter, instead of using the shortening and salt. Why didn't I just write that? Some people prefer shortening or only have unsalted butter, so I write the basic recipe for people to select what they like.
Dry ingredients go into a bowl, cut the cold butter up and rub into the flour until like fine breadcrumbs. Add the wet ingredients, combine until a dough forms. Add extra moisture if it's too dry, but only a little at a time. Knead a little, then place in the fridge for five minutes. When ready, roll out.
Roll to about 5-6mm thickness and cut circles with the cutter. You'll have leftover pastry. If you have an extra muffin pan (I only had one) make more shells. You could easily make another twelve.
Grease your muffin pan and gently place the pastry circles inside, making sure to centre it as much as possible. Gently press the pastry to the contours of the pan and try to lengthen the height of the walls without tearing holes. When baked, the pastry will expand a little.
Bake in a preheated oven 180 degrees Celsius (170, fan forced) for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then use a butter knife to gently lift out the pan, onto a cooling rack.
I made my lemon butter filling after the pastry shells were cooling. So they had about 30 minutes to cool. I found the warm lemon butter (as opposed to cold out of the fridge) easy to spoon into the shells. Each shell took about a tablespoon and a bit of lemon filling.
And they make the perfect bight-size portions! Alas there were only 12, but most of them managed to make it to the next day. They're nice warm, but they're also very nice once they've had a day in the fridge. So give them a day if you can!
If I make these again, I will try putting a chocolate button on the bottom of each shell, before filling with the warm lemon butter. They should melt slightly and taste that little bit more special.
So that's my small package of love for my Hunny, before enduring surgery on Monday. He liked them very much.