Tasty, bite-sized lemon treats that have an amazing zing before the hit of sweet, creamy meringue takes the taste over the top!
Why We Chose This Recipe
With our daughter turning one in just under a month we are having a small birthday get-together for her with some friends of ours and some of her own little friends from day care.
We don’t really want to have an all-out, huge, catered party but still want to be able to treat our guests in little ways, to say ‘thank you’ for the help they have all given us in their own little way over the last year – whilst we have learnt to be parents to a beautiful little girl.
The last few weekends have been spent exploring some different ways in which we can create some small treats for the party. As well as the regular cup-cake and cake recipes we wanted to at least try some new recipes and explore some other options to do something different.
With lemons in season at the moment, and quite allot of fresh lemons sitting in our fruit bowl, having been handed to us from family and friends; we thought this recipe would be a great way to use them.
These mini tarts are simply delicious, the lemon curd gives a great tart, lemony taste, and when combined with just the right amount of sweetness from the soft meringue it makes a wonderful bite-sized way to end a meal.
We have been really popular with the neighbours lately with all of the party foods we have been trying and handing out as samples – but these have definitely been the favourites.
We found that using regular store-bought, pre-rolled shortcrust pastry works really well, and thats the version of the recipe we have shared below. We made this recipe with a goal of creating lots of these little treats quickly, so there really was no need to explore baking our own pastry after the store-bought results turned out so well. If however, you prefer to make your own shortcrust pastry we’re sure they will even more delicious.
Would we make these again?
I think in the end these are perhaps a little too labour-intensive for making on a large-scale for a party, even though we tried to cut down the prep-time as much as possible to try and make these more practical to make on a larger scale. Time will ultimately tell whether we give these a go on the day or not, maybe if we get a good baby sitter to give us some extra baking time (hint, hint: we’re looking at you grandparents).
Whether we use these for our party or not they are amazingly fantastic little desserts that we will be busting out at future dinner parties, bbqs and for any other excuse we can think of . The small, almost bite-size scale of these make them much easier to portion and to carry to a party than having one large pie.
We can’t wait to share some other recipes with you that we have tried out for the party and really can’t wait to celebrate the first birthday of our little one.
For the Tart Cases
- 2 1/2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed. (Buy the best you can afford, there is a big difference between the good stuff and the cheap rubbish)
For the Lemon Curd
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 2 egg yolks
- 30g butter
- 1 finely grated lemon zest
For the Meringue
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Prepare the tart cases
- The first step involves blind-baking the tart cases, which sounds way harder and more intimidating than it actually is. Begin by pre-heating the oven to 200°C and very lightly greasing a muffin tin or tins, you’ll need 12 tart cases.
- Using a cutter (around 10cm in diameter) cut the pastry and gently ease them into the muffin tins being careful not to over-work the pastry or it may shrink a little too much when baking. Chill the pastry in the tins for 10 mins.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and prick the bottom of the cases with a fork. Pricking the cases releases any steam building up between the tin and the case which will make the bottom of your cases ‘bubble’ and won’t allow you to fill them with delicious curd.
- Bake the tart cases for 10–15 mins in the oven or until golden. We put baking paper into the tart cases first and filled with a little bit of un-cooked rice to stop the pastry shrinking in the oven (we don’t have any of those fancy ceramic baking balls). This may not be necessary, however we wanted to make sure our cases came out perfect first-time. Set aside the baked cases for filling later.
For the Lemon Curd
- Combine water, lemon juice, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and using a whisk stir until smooth. Gently bring the mixture to the boil, ensuring you stir constantly, until mixture eventually thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins.
- Stir in yolks, butter and rind, continually stirring and allow to cool slightly.
- Whilst the mixture is still warm spoon into the prepared cases, filling as close to the top as possibly. Level out the top of the curd gently and then place the filled tarts into the fridge to cool until firm.
For the Meringue
You’ll need to use an electric mixer for this, a stand mixer is best but a powerful hand-mixer could work as well. The bowl needs to be sparkling clean and totally dry so no additional moisture will effect the mixture.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, whilst continually beating until the sugar fully dissolves within the mixture and the ‘foam’ becomes stiff, thick and glossy. Beat in the teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Heat oven to an extremely hot 200–220°C.
- Using a spoon, dollop the mixture on top of the prepared tarts. You don’t need to be too fancy, just make some peaks on top, they will all look great eventually! The only thing to make sure of is that the meringue stays on top of the tart and does not cover the sides of the tart case too much.
- Bake in the oven for 4-5 mins, but keep an eye on them as they will turn from perfect-looking golden peaks to burnt quite quickly. Once baked to a nice, golden colour remove from the oven and cool completely before storing (and eating!).