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Lemon Curd and Fresh Blackberry Tartlets

Lemon Curd and Fresh Blackberry Tartlets

Two of my favorite flavors are lemon and blackberry. My Grandmother grew blackberries in the sandy loam soil of her garden in the Texas Panhandle. When they are ripe, they are bursting with sweet flavor. Pairing these beautiful, luscious berries with the flavor of a tart and creamy lemon curd came about quite by accident. I had guests coming for dinner and needing a quick dessert I started looking at what was on hand. Tart shells in the freezer, lemons and blackberries in the fridge. Good to go!

Always on the hunt for shortcuts for last minute gatherings, I ran across Athens® Mini Fillo Shells. When I was catering, my partner Jane and I would make tartlet shells by layering sheets of buttered phyllo dough (aka fillo dough), tucking them into muffin tins and baking until golden and crisp. It yields a wonderful result but is a bit time consuming. These mini fillo dough shells are a great alternative. They’re available in the freezer section of most fine food markets and now a staple in my freezer.

Lemon curd is an incredibly versatile dessert. It can be used as a dessert sauce or cooked into a custard for a lemon tart. If you’ve got a Vitamix®, whipping up a lemon curd dessert sauce takes less than 20 minutes. Your guests will never know how simple this elegant dessert was to create!

The first recipe is from Vitamix® and is extremely easy to prepare. The second is a traditional lemon curd, cooked on the stovetop. If you’re making the lemon curd for a large tart and need the curd to “set up” use the stovetop method.

Lemon Curd (Vitamix® method)

5 extra-large eggs

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest from 3 lemons

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup butter, cut into pieces

Place the eggs, lemon juice, zest, sugar and kosher salt in the blender. Begin blending on low speed then slowly increase to high and process for about 5-6 minutes. (The heat produced by the Vitamix® blender “cooks” the egg yolks.)

With the machine on low speed add the butter and blend an additional 30-45 seconds.

Chill until ready to serve.

Lemon Curd (Stovetop)

6 eggs yolks, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups sugar

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 lemons

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest from 3 lemons

½ cup butter, cut into pieces

In a heavy saucepan add the beaten egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and kosher salt, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 12-15 minutes. Add the butter and the lemon zest, stirring until the butter has melted and is mixed evenly into the lemon curd. (Add the lemon zest at the end, after cooking the curd or the zest will “candy”during the cooking process. It won’t hurt anything but it will have a different texture.)

Chill until ready to serve.

As with any curd or custard, prior to chilling add a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture. This prevents a “skin” from forming on top.

To prepare tartlets, place the frozen tartlet shells on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

To keep the unfilled shells crisp, store them in a covered container until ready to fill.

Fill the cooled shells with lemon curd, top with fresh blackberries.

 



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