My housemate's boyfriend brought us bunches of lemons from his parents' lemon trees, so I decided to go on the prowl for lemon recipes. We have a Meyer lemon tree of our own in the backyard, so I wanted a recipe that would really highlight the tarter flavor of these Lisbon lemons. These lemon tarts were the perfect solution. Since I only have 4 tartlette pans, I baked half the filling in tart shells and half in greased ramekins (with no pastry crust). Both versions were very good. The tarts were obviously a bit more formal and pretty, but the ramekins were delicious as well and highlighted the lemon flavor even more. They reminded me of lemon pudding cakes with a spongy top layer and a custard-y bottom layer. Finally, although the original recipe started with an unbaked crust, I think pre-baking the crust is crucial for the smaller tartlettes, which spend less time in the oven than a full-sized pie. I didn't pre-bake the crust, and while the final result was still tasty, the crust was definitely not as browned and crispy as I would have preferred.
Lemon Sponge Tartlettes (adapted from Bunny's Warm Oven, via The Food Librarian)
6-8 mini tart pans, lined with pie crust and baked until golden brown
3 large eggs, separated
2 T lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup milk (low fat ok)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together the egg yolks to combine. Whisk in the zest, lemon juice, and milk. Whisk in the sugar, flour, and salt and beat until smooth.
3. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
4. Pour the lemon mixture into the egg whites and fold together with a rubber spatula. Carefully pour the batter into the cooled tart shells. (This may be easier if you transfer the batter to something with a spout.) The tarts can be filled fairly full without risk of running over the edge.
5. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top and a tester comes out clean.