Friday, April 29, 2011

Lemon Tarts for Easter

Since I was supposed to bring a dessert to the family Easter gathering, I had a lot of fun dreaming of what to cook up! (Anticipation started building a few weeks into my dessert-free Lent.)  I kept thinking, "We need something light, lemony, and fruity."  So lemon fruit tarts were born!
I kept the cupcake trays from the twins' birthday party, knowing that I would find a purpose for them some day.  That day came last weekend when I put these little beauties together:
The fruit was all on sale at Aldi and the Pig.  I was thinking of kiwi, but it wasn't on sale so it didn't make the cut.  I was really happy with the way the tart shells turned out.  All I did was buy pre-made pie crusts and cut a large circle for each cupcake tin hole with the larger edge of my funnel.  They baked up so cute and flaky!  (For future reference, 3 boxes of pie shells = approx. 46 tarts; 2 boxes = 30 tarts.  I used 3 boxes because we have a big big family :)

I debated quite a while on what to use for the lemon filling.  I finally settled on a lemon curd for most of the tarts, and vanilla pudding for picky people.  The lemon curd came out quite sour but good, and I will definitely be making it again.  Here was the recipe I stole somewhere from cyberspace:
(I tripled this and had plenty left over)
1/2 c. sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
3/4 c. water
2 beaten egg yolks
1/4 c. lemon juice  (squeezed from 2 lemons)
2 Tablespoons margarine or butter
Combine sugar, cornstarch and lemon peel in a small saucepan.  Strin in water; cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Gradually stir about 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture boils.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lemon juice and margarine or butter, stirring till margarine/butter melts.  Cool and spoon into pastry shells. 

Apparently my relatives were thinking along the same lines as me, as my sister-in-law and nephew's wife made fruit ka-bobs, and my sister brought a lemon meringue pie!  So we had lots of fruit and lemon desserts, but that was a very good thing.  (You can never have too much fruit, right?)  It made such a pretty table!

In the background, you can see my purple tray with chocolate bon-bons.  Just in case the tarts weren't sweet enough for everybody, I also made "Safe to Eat Raw Cookie Dough Balls" (dipped in chocolate) from My Computer is My Canvas.  They are sinfully good.  Most of my kids actually prefer them "bald" (not dipped in chocolate), but oh my friend, I strongly suggest you go whole-hog (and become a whole hog in the process).  Dip them in chocolate and don't look back!!  Oh. so. good. 


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