Plan a Home & Garden Party: Merry Berry Lemon-Curd Tartlets

| August/September 2001

  • By Lucinda Hutson

Makes about 36 tartlets

The bright yellow filling of these tiny tartlets creates a perfect backdrop for whatever is most beautiful from your herb garden: lemon balm, lemon verbena, salad burnet, violas, borage flowers, or lavender blossoms. I prefer tart lemon curd, but make it sweeter if you wish by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more sugar. Sometimes I add finely minced lemon verbena and lemon balm to the lemon curd after it has cooled slightly. Because the pastry shells may be made in advance and frozen, and the lemon curd keeps for more than a week in the refrigerator, these desserts are easy to assemble and garnish the day of the party.


• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 heaping cup vegetable shortening
• 3 tablespoons cold water

1. Sift the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder into a bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir gently, very lightly forming a loose ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour so that it will be easy to roll out.

2. On a lightly floured board, roll out dough as thinly as possible. Use a 21/2- to 3-inch cookie cutter to cut dough into rounds. Press the dough loosely into miniature tartlet or muffin tins that have been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Bake at 400°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light and golden. If you are preparing ahead of time, freeze tartlet shells in an airtight container until the day of the party. (Do not thaw before filling.)

Lemon Curd
Makes about 1 cup

• 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 8 tablespoons butter
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon verbena or lemon balm, if desired

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