Easy squeezy

[Recipe 1] LEMON CURD transforms into
[Recipe 2] LITTLE LEMON TARTS
……………..
I spent a weekend at my sister’s house in beautiful Ocean Grove recently. She has a bulging lemon tree so I snaffled a bag to take home. I day-dreamed about potential lemon recipes as I drove home along Geelong Road (arguably the most boring stretch of tar in Victoria). Just as I reached the big smoke it came to me – Lemon curd!! The curd my friend Janet makes from her mum’s original recipe is my favourite. Lemon curd is a ripper recipe if you’re lucky enough to have chooks in the backyard and a lemon tree, as you’ll have the two main ingredients covered – eggs and lemon juice.
You can use lemon curd in soooo many different ways – drizzled over pancakes, sandwiched in a sponge cake, smeared on pikelets or plopped on top of Greek yoghurt or ice cream. It’s also a beaut gift to pass on to neighbours, friends and/or family AND, best of all, you can make heavenly (even if I do say so myself) Little lemon tarts with it too.
The crackling sugar topping on the tarts is of course optional, but I can’t stress enough how much fun can be had with a kitchen blowtorch. I found mine at Dalgarnos. A miniature gun that shoots fire – it’s of course my 8-year old’s most favourite, like totally awesome, kitchen gadget.

Lemon curd in a jar

Lemon curd in a bowl[Recipe 1] Lemon curd

375g (12 oz/3 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups (560g) castor (superfine) sugar
1⅔ cups lemon juice, strained (6–8 lemons)
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
6 large eggs, plus 1 extra yolk, at room temperature, beaten

Place butter, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Stir over a low heat until butter has melted. Stir in lemon rind. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes.
Carefully pour in the beaten eggs, whisking continuously with a hand-held whisk. Gradually return to a low heat and stir until thickened, for about 10–15 minutes. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it’s not perfectly thickened. It should be the consistency of thin custard.
Place the hot lemon curd into sterilised jars. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
Reserve 3 cups Lemon curd for the Little lemon tarts.
Makes 5½ cups.

  • Be careful when adding the eggs – if the eggs are too cold or the butter mixture is too hot, the eggs will curdle. If this does happen though, don’t panic. Press it through a fine sieve, then return it to a low heat and stir continuously for about 5 minutes.
  • Glass jars, lids and rubber rings can be sterilised by running them through your dishwasher on the hottest cycle, on the top shelf.
  • Lemon curd can be stored in sterilised jars, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

Little lemon curd tarts

[Recipe 2] Little lemon tarts

Half quantity sweet shortcrust pastry
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
3 cups reserved lemon curd (½ cup per tart)
Caster (superfine) sugar, for caramelising (optional)
Icing (confectioners) sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Roll out the sweet shortcrust pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper until quite thin, no more than 3mm (⅛-inch) thick. Line six 12cm (5-inch) lightly oiled shallow tart tins (with removable bases) with the pastry, gently pressing down into the edges, and trim to fit. Prick the bases with a fork. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to prevent shrinkage.
Blind bake the pastry to prevent it collapsing: cover pastry bases with baking paper and fill with pastry weights (or uncooked rice). Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl and allow to stand for about 5 minutes.
Add gelatin mixture to reserved lemon curd. Beat until just combined.
Divide curd amongst baked pastry shells. Refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight.
To caramelise the tops, sprinkle a generous layer of castor sugar over the tarts. Wave the flame of a kitchen blowtorch back and forth over the surface until the sugar is golden brown and caramelised. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Yum.
Makes 6 x 12cm tarts.

  • If you don’t own 12cm shallow tart tins, you can also use Texas-style muffin tins.

23 thoughts on “Easy squeezy

    • Hi there. Good question! Castor sugar is definitely preferable, as with granulated sugar you’ll end up with a slightly grainy curd. You can make your own: place the granulated sugar into your food processor, and pulse until it reaches a super-fine consistency, taking care not to blend it into a powder (or you’ll end up with icing sugar)! Thanks for visiting. Hope you love the curd!

  1. ….just realised that this was a post from almost a year ago, so I missed it by a long shot – hehe! It came up on the side bar and I’m glad it did!

  2. I knew I’d been missing out on some awesome recipes from you…this is great! Lemony desserts and cakes are my favourite! I am a sucker for a lemon curd tart and will always order if there is one on the menu. I’ve yet to make one of my own, so have bookmarked this to try some time. 🙂

  3. saskia,i want that yellow polka dot plate! and the cute lemon curd jars are perfectly sweet.
    i’ve never tried lemon curd but we have 2 lemon trees in our yard. i know the kids and i would love to try it on our vanilla ice cream (:

    • Oh… lucky you with 2 lemon trees! You must try this – my boys LOVE it, and it’s gorgeous on ice cream. I do love my little polka dot plate. It used to have a matching cup too – I am the queen of crockery smashing 😦

  4. You are 1 creative woman! I love lemon curd a lot & those lemon curd tartlets, all home-made look just georgous & nearly to beautiful to savour! Nearly! 🙂 I also love your cute labeled cards 😉 Yummmm!

  5. Genius – I have 7 chooks who have just realised it’s (nearly) Spring, and a neighbour with a lemon tree. And I LOVE lemon curd.
    By the way, made your spinach rice followed by spanakopita last week. Great success, and so nice to go to the fridge knowing the makings of dinner are there

    • Lucky you having 7 chooks, especially now they’re earning their keep. We LOVE lemon curd too. Have been living on the stuff for the past couple of weeks. The boys can’t get enough…

  6. Sas, just love your packaging which looks every bit as delectable as your curd. Mostly tho have to thank you for the lightening bolt of inspiration which came whilst reading your post. I’ve never been to Delgarnos, but Hubby has been hankering for a blowtorch for culinary capers for some time now……perfect father’s day gift! I’ll be paying a visit soon and look forward to having these cooked for me 🙂

    • Thanks Rosa! One suggestion: go for a large, semi-professional blowtorch. I experimented a while ago with a small (ie. cheap!) model and found it took too long to caramelise the sugar, melting the tart filling in the process. The slightly more industrial model is quicker and works like a dream. Enjoy! GREAT idea for father’s day.

      • PS. You’ll love Dalgarnos. I buy lots of my kitchen gadgets from them. Retail certainly isn’t dead when you walk in there. It’s always bustling. Easy place to empty your wallet in though. Be warned…

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