This Christmas, we wanted to share a special recipe with our readers. Former British Royal Chef Carolyn Robb has shared with us her famous recipe for Lemon Tartlets, a treat she often makes these for family celebrations.
Photo courtesy of Carolyn Robb
As seen in “A Royal Touch” cookbook by former British Royal Chef Carolyn Robb
Lemon tartlets will always be reminiscent of Garden Parties for me. I vividly remember the first time that I attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace; it was a gloriously sunny English summer’s afternoon. As a child growing up in South Africa, I would no more have dreamt of venturing inside the gates of Buckingham Palace than flying to the moon! It is a memory that I will always treasure. In this recipe I use lemon pastry and a filling of my homemade lemon curd, mixed with a little whipped cream. I decorate them with seasonal berries, fresh mint and edible flowers.
Makes approximately 24 x 5cm (2inch) tartlets
You will need twenty-four 5cm (2 inch) tartlet moulds or 2 muffin trays
A metal pastry cutter 7 – 8cm (2 1/2 – 3 inches) in diameter
Ceramic baking beans
For the lemon pastry:
280g /10 oz butter (1 1/2 sticks)
140g /5 oz golden super-fine sugar (2/3 cup)
Zest of 1 un-waxed lemon
1 large free-range egg
450g /1lb plain flour (4 cups)
For the filling:
150ml / 2/3 cup heavy cream
360g /12oz lemon curd (1 1/2 cups) — lemon curd recipe below
A selection of berries, mint leaves and edible flowers
- Make the pastry. Cream together the butter and sugar. Finely grate the lemon zest directly into the mixture, add the egg yolk and mix well.
- Sift in the flour, mix and bring together to form a smooth dough. You can use a food processor to make the pastry.
- Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
- Whip the cream until firm and fold in the lemon curd. Cover and leave in the refrigerator until required.
- Roll the pastry out on a floured board to a thickness of about 3mm (1/8 inch). Cut out circles of pastry and line the tartlet moulds.
- Place a circle of baking parchment into each tartlet and fill with baking beans or pie weights.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and set the oven to 180ºC /350ºF.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes, depending on size. Remove the baking beans and parchment and return to the oven for a few more minutes to crisp up the tartlets.
- Cool on a wire rack and then remove tartlets from the moulds.
- When completely cold, fill with the lemon curd cream (recipe below).
- Decorate with your choice of berries and finish with flowers and mint. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.
- To keep the pastry crisp for longer, paint the inside of the tartlets with melted chocolate. White chocolate is best as the strong flavour of dark chocolate conflicts with the freshness of the lemons.
- If fresh berries are not in season, glaze the tartlets by sprinkling them generously with icing sugar, then using a blow torch you can caramelise the sugar.
We had a huge and prolific lemon tree in our garden in South Africa, when I was a child. Lemon curd was something that my mother and I often made together as a way of using up a few lemons. I won quite a few prizes for my lemon curd in the cookery section of the home-crafts at the local agricultural show. My mother and I competed against one another.
Here is my prize-winning recipe!
Makes one 450g (1lb) jar
You will need: one sterilised 450g (1lb) glass jar with lid
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
200g (7oz) super-fine sugar
140g (5oz) butter
2 un-waxed lemons, zest and juice
- Place the beaten eggs, caster sugar, butter, lemon zest and strained lemon juice in the top of a double boiler, with simmering water in the bottom.
- If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Be careful not to overheat the mixture as it will curdle.
- Stir well to dissolve the sugar and cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the curd has thickened. (It will thicken further when it cools.)
- Pour into pre-warmed sterilised jar and seal when completely cold.
- Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Variations of Lemon Curd
- You can substitute limes and oranges for the lemons, but you should still include some lemon juice as well.
- Mix in a tablespoon of orange flower water just before bottling, it gives the lemon curd a lovely delicate aroma and is especially nice for lemon curd tartlets.
Lemon Curd Uses
- Spread on toast, bread or scones.
- Mix with an equal quantity of whipped cream and use to fill tartlets; (see recipe above for Lemon Tartlets)
- Makes a delicious filling for cakes, roulades and profiteroles.
- You can sandwich small meringues together with it (but they must be eaten within an hour!)
- Spoon over ice cream and serve with fresh berries.
- Delicious mixed into yoghurt for a very quick dessert.
There you have it — your very own Lemon Tartlets recipe to share with your loved ones this Christmas. Share your creations with us on social media by tagging @TenonTours.