Buttermilk Lemon Tarts

Time to Cook: 
40 minutes
Time to Prepare: 
10 minutes
Number of Servings: 
3 dozen
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Lemon and Spring just go together, and this pie is a perfect dessert for Easter weekend. Sometimes making a custard can seem like a lot of work, but all you need to do here is whip this one up in your blender and pour into a pie crust. Bake in the oven for about an hour and the result is a smooth, creamy, mildly lemony filling that will leave you wanting more. Topped with whipping cream and some fresh berries, this pie is a nice change from the traditional lemon meringue that is so popular this time of year. Go for a whole pie or break it down into bite sized tarts, ready to take to a potluck lunch where you don't want to be cutting pieces for people.

Blind baking the pie crust, or baking it ahead with weights on top to hold the pastry down, keeps the crust from going soggy when you pour the liquid filling in. You will have a bunch of leftover egg whites from this dish, but you have options; make a showstopping pavlova, delectable chocolate cookies, delicate meringues, or you can even freeze them for another day

A tip about the lemons: Meyer lemons, if you can get your hands on some at the market, are amazing in this pie but not completely necessary. Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter and less acidic, with a very flavourful skin. When I use Meyer lemons for this recipe, I use the zest from two lemons (who wants to waste that beautiful flavour?) and the juice from three. When I use regular lemons, I only use 1 tbsp lemon zest and it takes about 2-3 lemons to get 1/3 cup juice.

Creamy lemon tarts with a flaky pastry crust are a fresh and bright dessert.

Ingredients

3 dozen frozen tart shells or one deep dish pie crust (see baking directions below for pie)

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

3 large eggs

6 egg yolks

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon rind

pinch of saffron

1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. Prick the tart shells in a few places and then line them with foil or parchment paper and fill foil w/ dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake the shells on a tray in the oven for 12 minutes.

3. Remove the rice and foil cups from the tart shells. Put the tray back into the oven for another 8 minutes, or until the pastry feels dry. While the pastry shells are baking, measure the sugar, buttermilk, eggs and egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon rind, saffron, and salt into a blender. Blend it until well mixed and then with the motor running, add the flour and melted butter. Blend until it's well mixed. Pour the custard into a large glass mixing cup or pitcher. Bang the bottom on the counter to pop the bubbles on the surface. Pour the custard into the warm tart shells.

4. Place the tray in the oven and bake, turning once at the 10 minute mark, for about 18-22 minutes. You'll know they are done when the tarts seem set but have a bit of jiggle in the center. Remove them from the oven and let cool on the pan before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Serve topped with whipping cream and fruit. I like them chilled, but room temperature is also really good. The tarts will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

To turn this into a pie, you will need a deep dish pie crust. Cover the unbaked shell with foil and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake 20-25 minutes, and then remove the foil and weights to bake 10-12 minutes longer. Pour the filling over the warm pie shell and return to the oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the pie is set but a bit jiggly in the center.

Adapted from Bon Appetit