“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” Sam Keen
Well, kind of. Unfortunately, it is no longer deep summer and I no longer have any excuse for my blogging laziness.
Well, perhaps a small excuse – I was down in California again for a period of time, and although the Seattle has firmly decided that we are now in the throes of autumn, LA continues to barrel through with summertime heat, completely heedless of October lurking around the corner. In celebration of this blithe attitude towards the calendar, I decided to make some Raspberry Lemon-Curd Tartelettes. Tartelettes are one of my favorite forms of dessert and I don’t make them nearly as often as I should. They’re compact and very shareable, they have a higher crust to filling ratio (which is excellent), and they bake up much quicker than a traditional tart. All of these factors contribute to my vast enjoyment of tartelettes – after all, what is a tartelette but a mini-pie? And I love pie.
I don’t think there are many flavor combinations that are more quintessentially summer than creamy sweet lemon and fresh raspberry. Add a crunchy, lightly sweetened toasted almond crust and a sprig of mint, and that’s it. That’s just it.
At any rate, the raspberries were on an insane sale at only $2 a box and I felt obligated to give them a happy home. Actually I’m not sure if these tartelettes would have existed at all if the raspberries had cost $6 a box, because lets be honest, when you pay that much for fresh fruit you feel some sort of terrible obligation to eat and enjoy it as is, without any meddling. And with raspberries, you count yourself lucky if a fourth of the box hasn’t molded over, or gone beyond mushy.
At any rate the tartelettes turned out just lovely, and super tasty; and now with this summertime success behind me I can cozy up into more autumnal fare in the near future.
Raspberry Lemon-Curd Tartlettes
This “recipe” is like most of my baking – a mash-up of several recipes from several authorities.
Toasted Almond Crust
- 2 cups raw chopped almonds (I very roughly chopped by hand – a conscious decision to make the crust a bit more rustic, with a bigger crunch. If you want a more traditional crust texture, use a food processor to chop it fairly fine; be careful though, if you take it too far, it’ll turn into almond butter)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
Mix everything in a bowl together, then press the crust mixture into the tartelette molds. Bake at 350*F until the almonds are toasty and golden, or about 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before pouring the lemon curd in.
Lemon Curd (Rose Levy Berenbaum The Cake Bible)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4.5 oz sugar
- 3 fl.oz lemon juice (about 2 1/2 large lemons)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon zest
In a heavy noncorrodible saucepan, beat the yolks and sugar until well blended. ( I always do this over a double-boiler; its just easier for me to control the heat and lessens the chance of curdling). Stir in the remaining ingredients except the lemon zest. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and resembling a thin hollandaise sauce, which thickly coats a wooden spoon but is still liquid enough to pour. The mixture will change from transluscent to opaque and begin to take on a yellow color on the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let it boil, or it will curdle! (Again, double-boiler is awesome.) When the curd has thickened, pour at once into a strainer. (I skipped this step). Stir in the lemon zest and cool. While still warm (but not hot!) pour the lemon curd into the almond crusts and let sit in the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, pull out the tartelettes and very very very very carefully unmold (no, but seriously, be gentle). Place washed and dried raspberries on top of the tartelette and garnish with mint and coarse sugar, if desired.
Enjoy with a mojito, margarita, or even some ice cold water.
Up next, the most chocolate of cakes.