Ok, here it is, that familiar little spoonful of advice: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I am definitely a look on the bright side of life kind of gal. After hitting snooze 3 or 4 times, I generally do not roll out of the wrong side of the bed in the morning. Simple things like sunshine, brightly painted doors and striped paper straws make me smile. And as a kid, I loved Pollyanna, that’s right… the little miss who created the ‘glad game’. So, true to my nature I agree with the principle; I admire the simple spot-on analogy; I even really like to drink lemonade. However, all this said, I think this phrase is tired and over done.
I was feeling the lemon, so I went searching for some inspiration. At first my searching kept coming up with images and goods linked to the phrase, which I was not feeling. Boo. But, for a little lemon love that could stand on it’s own, I persevered, and stumbled across loads of fun citrus inspiration…
In my hunt I did find Henry Rollins very Rollins version: when life hands you a lemon. Say, oh yeah, I like lemons! What else ya got? Which for my dinner party dessert purposes I hoped life was also in the mood for some additional ingredients. It was (well actually The Italian Centre was).
So, after booing a wise grandma piece of advice and getting seriously side-tracked in the wonderful world of the internet search, I came up with: when life hands you lemons, creme fraiche and sugar make lemon cloud tartlets.
Lemon Cloud Tartlets
Makes 8 x 3″ tartlets
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
4 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (113 gr) butter (room temp)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (unsifted)
1 large egg
1 1 /2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
Lemon crème fraîche
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup crème fraîche
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon peel
Curd: Whisk yolks and eggs in medium bowl. Combine lemon juice, butter, and 1/2 cup sugar in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch water); whisk until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk 1/3 of hot butter mixture into eggs, then whisk mixture back into bowl with remaining butter mixture set over simmering water. Whisk constantly until custard thickens and thermometer inserted into mixture registers 180°F, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Here the recipe says to pour the lemon curd through strainer set over medium bowl, but mine was too thick to make it’s way through a strainer to I just moved onto the final step: place plastic wrap directly on surface of lemon curd and chill overnight.
Dough: In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy on medium speed, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix briefly only to incorporate. Dump the whole mixture onto your lightly floured counter and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Do not work the dough while in the mixer or it will toughen up. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
You will need half the dough for this recipe. The other half can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen, or well wrapped for up to 3 months.
Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
When the dough is nice and cold, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ -inch thick. Cut out eight 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
Creme Fraiche: Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream, crème fraîche, 3 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Spoon half of lemon curd and half of lemon crème fraîche into another large bowl. Using small rubber spatula, gently fold curd and lemon crème fraîche together, creating marble effect and being careful not to overmix to retain marbling.
Assembly: Place 3″ tart rings around each shortbread round on a baking sheet. Spoon marbled mixture in dollops onto the cooled crust. Using a small rubber spatula, swirl and smooth mixture to edges and to meet top of tart round. Repeat with remaining curd and crème fraîche mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour to set, use a hot knife to cut tartlets away from pastry ring and return to fridge until 5 minutes before serving. Top with a dollop of whipping cream and garnish with fresh blueberries.