Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sugar Cookie Lemon Tarts

Sugar Cookie Lemon Tarts - made November 15, 2014 from Inquiring Chef
I'm still experimenting on what desserts I want to make for Thanksgiving this year. Instead of my usual Lemon Bars that my extended family likes, I thought I'd try out these lemon cookie cups or tarts as its stand-in.
The sugar cookie shell is a basic sugar cookie dough, easy to make and easy to work with. I chilled it for 15 minutes but it was still a bit sticky when I was forming the cookie cups so I recommend not cheating like I did and chill it for at least the full 30 minutes called for in the recipe. The filling made for more tarts than I had dough for, meaning I ended up with 20 tarts but extra filling even after I had filled the 20 as much as I dared.
The recipe calls for baking these for only 10-12 minutes. At 10 minutes, they looked pasty pale and the filling was still a bit jiggly so I ended up baking these for at least 15 minutes. They were still pale and the cookie shells had hardly any color so I did wonder briefly if I had taken them out too soon.
Turns out that I should've remembered that these were sugar cookies and good sugar cookies are always pale. You actually don't want them to get brown or they'll be overbaked and dry. Once the cookie cups had cooled, the filling formed a crack in some of the tarts, signaling that I had baked them a few minutes too long. The finished tarts look like the egg custards you can get at dim sum restaurants but they're really lemon. I ended up liking these and found them worthy of a Thanksgiving table. The only thing I would tweak when it's game time is I would add lemon zest to the filling to make it more lemony. These weren't quite tart enough. Because the shell is a sugar cookie, a more tart filling would provide a better contrast. Oh, and I would recommend not sprinkling the confectioners' sugar over it until right before you serve or else the sugar will just get absorbed into the filling.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt

Lemon Filling
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
juice from 1 large lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Confectioners' sugar for dusting over each tart
  1. Crust: Beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on high. Add the egg and mix on medium until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on medium just until combined; do not overmix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. 
  3. Make the lemon filling: whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, heavy cream, lemon juice and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Divide the dough into quarters and divide each quarter into six even balls of dough. Press each ball of dough into a cavity of the muffin tin. Shape into a cup inside the tin, using your hands or a tart tamper. Pour the lemon filling into the center of each cookie cup, stopping just below the top of the crust.
  5. Bake until the filling is set and the crust begins to turn golden, 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake; pull the tarts out just when you see any golden color on the crusts. Allow to cool completely. 
  6. Dust with confectioners' sugar right before serving.

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