Friday, January 11, 2013

It's a tarty Friday treat

You know what's really funny? Giving a child a lemon to taste for the first time. I don't mean to be cruel, but it's one of those reactions that you can't help but laugh at. The innocence as they inspect the brightly coloured fruit, then naturally raise it to their mouth to taste. Then as the juice hits their tongue, the instant screwing up of their face followed by a look of complete shock - how can you not start to giggle, at least out of recognition of the situation. 

I've never been a huge fan of the tartness of lemons, however as I get older, I seem to be more tolerant to their refreshing flavour. I also accept that most other people like lemons and citrus flavours, so thought I should probably add these to my baking list more often (and on a plus, if I don't like it, I will automatically eat less).

So, here are some lemony cheesecake tarts for my friends in the office today. They mainly act as a farewell for two wonderful people, neither from Australian so deserving of a fresh, tangy treat to remind them of their time here and working with our team.

Lemon Curd Cheesecake Tarts
Shortcrust pastry
2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
125g chilled butter, cubed
2 tbs icing sugar
1 egg yolk
2 - 3 tbs iced water

Butter a small muffin/cupcake baking tray and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. In a food processor, add the flour, salt, butter, icing sugar and egg yolk and process until the mixture resembles a crumb. With the beater still going, add the iced water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Remove from the processor and wrap in glad wrap and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes to rest. When rested, roll out between two sheets of baking paper until about .5 cm thick. Cut circles and press into the baking tray. Poke each case with a fork and pop into the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.

Lemon curd
3 tbs lemon rind
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
100g butter, at room temperature, cubed

In a bowl, whisk the lemon rind, lemon juice, egg yolks and sugar together until combined. Transfer to a saucepan and heat on a medium temperature, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and stir through the butter, a cube at a time. Cover and set aside in the fridge to cool.

250g cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
3/4 of the lemon curd
1/2 cup thickened cream

In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese and icing sugar until combined and smooth. Fold through the lemon curd. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until light and fluffy, then fold the cream through the cream cheese mix.

Using a piping bag (or a small spoon), fill the pastry shells with the cream cheese mix. Top with a dollop of the lemon curd. Pop in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) to set. ENJOY!

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