Gluten free Lemon Curd Tartlets

Prodigal Son

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Lemon, and fruit in general, curds originated in the early 18th Century when it was made from adding lemon, or other acidic fruits, to cream to form a curd, which was then separated from the whey.

Lemon curd then became known as Lemon Cheese, when solid sugar was used to scrape off the zest for its fragrance and oils. Then the sugar and zest were incorporated into the lemon cheese, which was used to fill small tartlets. Lemon curd in its modern form is essentially lemon juice and zest, eggs, and granular sugar. Butter is additionally used to round out the flavour by softening the lemon’s acidity. Nowadays, lemon curd is more of a thick custard than a curdled cream. It differs from the lemon curd cream filling used for larger tarts, which tends to have twice as much butter in the recipe. In this recipe the lemon curd is added to the tartlet after it has been prebaked.

Ingredients (pastry):
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 370g
Gum Arabic 2tsp
Salt 1/4tsp
Cane sugar 55g
Butter 205g (softened, room temp, cut in pieces)
Apple Cider Vinegar 1 1/2tsp (7ml)
Egg (slightly beaten) 100g (approx. 2 extra large – if necessary, add from another egg to make up weight)

Water (cold, if required) 5 – 10ml (1 – 2tsp) (unlikely to be needed), or
Gluten-free pastry flour mix* 1 – 3Tbsp (if required, and more likely, e.g., in hot or humid conditions)

*Gluten-free pastry flour mix: Brown rice flour 290g; Sweet rice flour 150g; Potato starch 75g; Tapioca starch 210g; Arrowroot powder 35g. Total 760g

Ingredients (fresh Lemon Curd): (approx. 500g fresh, or use 1 jar shop bought)
Lemon juice 80g/ml
Lemon zest 2 lemons
Cane sugar 144g (72g + 72g)
Eggs 200g (4 Large)
Butter (softened) 88g (room temperature)

Method (Lemon Curd):
In a bowl (1), whisk eggs and 72g Cane sugar together to combine.

In another bowl (2), whisk together the lemon juice and 72g Cane sugar, to dissolve the sugar. Eggs coagulate with both heat and acidity, so adding sugar to the lemon juice, and also to the egg mixture will buffer the eggs against early coagulation. Add the lemon zest and combine.

Add the lemon sugar mix (bowl 2) to the egg sugar mix (bowl 1).

Place bowl 1 over a saucepan of simmering water, then stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon. Pay close attention to the mixture and ensure that all of the surfaces are stirred, until the mixture thickens and heavily coats the spoon. If the mixture starts to steam, or shows signs of beginning to curdle, take the bowl off the heat immediately and continue to stir to recover the smooth texture of the mixture. As well as thickly covering the spoon the mixture will turn opaque.

Strain the mixture into a cool bowl (3). Add the softened butter, approximately 15g at a time, incorporating each fully before adding the next portion of butter. At the end, the lemon curd should slowly slide off the spoon rather than drop. Another test is to drop a little onto a flat surface, if it immediately pools, it is ready. If the lemon curd appears too runny, and this is a matter of choice, then reheat as above to achieve desired thickness.

Remove bowl 3 from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Pour the cooled lemon curd into a jar and seal. If not required immediately, the lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for a month.

Method (tartlets): (makes approx. 32 tartlets)
Sift flour, add Gum Arabic and mix thoroughly in a bowl.
In a mixer bowl cream butter and salt, at a medium speed for ½ – 1min.
Scrape down sides and bottom of mixer bowl; add sugar and combine at low speed for ½ - 1min; scrape down sides and bottom.
Add 50g flour, and combine at low speed.
Add Apple cider vinegar; gradually add slightly beaten eggs, and then 50g flour, beating at a low speed until the mixture comes together, scrape down sides and bottom
Gradually add rest of the flour, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl, restart and mix until the dough comes together (and if necessary add 1 – 2tsp water, or, more likely, 1 - 3Tbsp of Gluten-free pastry flour mix, and allow time to combine) – it will look bitty, yet will look shiny when handled and pressed together.

Lay a piece of cling film/plastic wrap on a pastry board, place the dough on top of it, press it into a ½in (13mm) thick rectangle, and cover with cling film/plastic wrap.

Chill pastry dough in a refrigerator for 20mins minimum, or even overnight (for the components to spread and combine, and to make it easier to roll).

Wrap a pastry board with wax paper, or parchment paper, dust evenly and generously with flour, along with dusting the rolling pin.

Cut pastry in half (place the other half back in the refrigerator); dust rolling pin with flour; then roll the pastry three times in one direction, evenly, gently and briskly (ie, confidently); rotate the pastry a ¼ turn (ensuring that the pastry is not stuck to the board, lift with a spatula and re-flour if necessary); and repeat; and repeat until the pastry is 4mm thick (any less and the tartlets will lose crispness and rigidity when baked).
Cut tartlet shells with a pastry cutter to fit a 6 or 12 shallow holed baking tray, or mince pie tray (approx. 3in, 7.5cm diam.).
The scraps can be rolled up and re-rolled - the pastry is very forgiving.

Preheat oven at 180C for 45mins.

Place cut pastry into baking tray holes and tap into bottom, sides and corners, gently, prick pastry base if necessary.

Place baking tray in a refrigerator for 30mins before baking (for the pastry to harden)

Remove the tartlet tray from the refrigerator.
Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake the tartlet shells for 18mins.

Remove from the oven and let the tartlets cool for 20 – 30mins in the tray; using a thin knife blade gently pry out each baked pastry shell and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper to fully cool.

As they are cooling, take a teaspoon, fill it with lemon curd, to heaped, and drop the lemon curd into a baked pastry shell. Repeat with the other baked pastry shells, until all are filled.

Enjoy!!!

lemon curd raw filling (Medium).jpg
 
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