Mini Lemon Sponge Tarts

October 11, 2010

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I love this time of year.  I love that the air is changing and there is a crispness about it.  I love pulling out my sweaters and bundling up and feeling cozy, I love watching my son practice with his football team at the park, and I especially love that my Meyer lemon tree is coming back to life after being dormant all summer long.  I love lemons.  Perhaps, lemons could quite possibly be my favorite fruit.  My mother-in-law laughs at me every time I order an iced tea in a restaurant.  I always request a huge bowl of lemons, on the side, and I am very specific on how I like them cut.  In wedges, no dinky slices for me.  I have to be able to squeeze all of the luscious juices out of them, getting every last drop, including the pulp.


It seemed only appropriate that I make a lemon dessert to celebrate the beginning of fall, coupled with a handful of very ripe lemons on my favorite tree.


This recipe comes from a book that I consider “perfectly perfect”, rustic fruit desserts.  I bake from it often and, to date, I have had not one catastrophe!  The original recipe was for a 10″ tart.  However, I opted to make minis (I adore mini anything) and in doing so, I had to alter the baking time of the crust (I over baked the first batch of crust and I was unconscious and baked the minis for the same time as the 10″. ooops!)  These are light, flaky, and utterly delicious!



Lemon Sponge Tart


Short dough
yield: 15 mini tarts or one 10″ tart shell

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbls. heavy cream
1 egg yolk

instructions:
• put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl of your food processor.
• add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
• lightly beat the cream and egg yolk and add it to the flour mixture, and pulse lightly.  you don’t want to over process.  this will result in less firm, less flaky dough.
• wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a 6″disk and chill for 1 hour.
• preheat oven to 375*
• on a lightly floured surface (the dough is on the sticky side) roll the dough out to 1/8″ thickness
• cut enough circles to fit your tart molds.  press dough into tart shells.  prick a few times with a fork.
• put tart shells on a parchment lined baking sheet.
• cover each tartlette with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
• bake for 17 minutes (for the tarteletts, 30 minutes for the large tart)
• the tarts can be pre-baked one day ahead.

Lemon Sponge Filling

ingredients:
2 Tbls. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2 eggs separated
juice of 2 lemons
2 1/2 Tbls. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

instructions:
• preheat oven to 425*
• in the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and the lemon zest at medium speed until well combined.
• add the egg yolks one at a time. mix until the batter is creamy.
• stir in the lemon juice, then the flour.  mix thoroughly.  this is a very thin mixture
• in a clean metal bowl, whisk the egg yolks and salt until soft peaks form. gently fold in the egg whites into the lemon mixture until evenly incorporated.
• pour into pre-baked tart shells.
• bake for 5 minutes.  turn the oven down to 325* and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the filling is golden and firm to the touch.
• cool to room temperature.
• these are best eaten the day they are baked.  can be stored in the fridge, for up to 3 days.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria October 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I posted a mini treat today too:) Love mini desserts! Especially your tarts.

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2 SprinkleBakes October 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Yum-yum! Such a pretty and uplifting post. I really love lemon too. I also get a bowl of lemon wedges with my tea! (We’d dine together well)

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3 The Urban Baker October 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Heather – I would LOVE to share a meal with you. Anytime, anywhere!!!!

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4 Kim October 12, 2010 at 1:38 am

I love this recipe and I love this book. I happen to have it too and I must say: it’s THE perfect dessert books! Love your mini tarts!

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5 marla {family fresh cooking} October 12, 2010 at 2:30 am

These little lemon sponge tarts look delish! They are delicate & perfect. I love lemon too – lucky you to have those meyer lemons right in your yard. Miss you girl, we need to see each other again really soon. xoI love that gal “Sprinkle Bakes” who commented above me. Her blog is AMAZING!! as is yours :)

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6 Carolyn October 12, 2010 at 11:22 am

These look wonderful, I will have to give them a try! Wish I had a meyer lemon tree.

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7 Maris (In Good Taste) October 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Yum! These look so refreshing. Love mini desserts because you can have more than one and they’re totally guilt-free….RIGHT!?

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8 naomi October 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm

This looks great. I’m a with you on the lemon with ice tea, wedges not slices.I have to say, I’m so jealous of your meyer lemon tree. It sounds like you will be enjoying a few more lemon desserts

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9 Dimah October 13, 2010 at 10:28 am

What cute little tarts!they look so delicious!

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10 The Italian Dish October 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I am so jealous of you Californians and your damn lemon trees! I wish! I love mini desserts, too – so cute!

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11 Amanda October 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Oh, these look lovely! I love all things lemon, and this recipe looks simple and sublime! Thanks for sharing.And everything is better (cuter) in miniature. ;)

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12 Cathy B. @ Brightbakes October 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm

these are so pretty! I love baking lemon sponge pies…and this gives me the inspiration to try little tarts…thanks for sharing!Love,Cathy B. @ brightbakes

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13 blackbookkitchendiaries October 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm

oh my this look so pretty:) cant wait to try this out. thank you for sharing.

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14 Patricia Scarpin October 19, 2010 at 10:49 am

Oh, these are right up my alley, Susan! So pretty – and lemony! YUM!

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15 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food October 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I am so with you on your love of all things lemon. I can’t recall eating (or making) a lemony dish – sweet or savory – that didn’t appeal to me in all sorts of ways. This is such a beautiful tart, and I can just imagine how delicious it must be.

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