Always remember to zest the lemons BEFORE you juice them.

I like the look of a rustic imperfect tart so I purposely make
the edges uneven in these ring molds.  You can make 
them perfectly even if you prefer.  You may use any shape or size or tart pan.
  I've often used an oblong rectangular one and then cut the the 
lemon tarts in slices.  You can also just used a traditional pie pan 
and make a lemon pie.  Note that these ring molds do not have a bottom
so you must use parchment paper underneath them.

To "bake blind" means to cook a pie crust or tart shell completely without 
any filling inside.  It is important to use some kind of pie weights because
otherwise the dough will shrink down and not hold its shape.  If you don't 
have ceramic pie weights like the ones pictured here, you can use dried beans
or rice.  Just be aware that once you use the dried beans and rice to bake blind you
won't be able to eat them.  When I used dried beans I stored them in a jar and 
labeled them "beans for pie weights" and kept them next to my tart and pie pans.

 Filled and ready to bake in a hot oven.  Be sure that your oven is preheated.

The finished shells

Making the lemon curd

Cook, whisking constantly, for about 6 minutes over medium heat or 
until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter two tablespoons at a time.
Then add the lemon zest.


Because I press these tart crusts into the ring molds by hand, I use a butter pastry crust that has an egg in it versus my basic pie dough crust.   I bake the tart shells "blind" which means to bake them completely before adding the filling.  The above pictures are made with ring molds but you can use any tart pan you have on hand.  This recipe is enough for one normal pie crust or tart shell.  Make a second batch of dough if you would like to make more.  I use this same crust for savory tomato and cheese tarts as well as for quiche. 

For the tart shells:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 egg

In a bowl, stir together the flour and salt.
Cut butter into chunks and with a pasty blender or two table knives, cut the butter into the flour until you have small pieces. Stir in the egg with a fork until the dough holds together. With your hands, shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Press pastry into tart shells, line with foil, followed by pie weights. (Dried beans or rice can be used as pie weights.)

Press pastry into tart shells, line with foil, followed by pie weights. (Dried beans or rice c an be used as pie weights.)
Bake in a 450 oven for 10 minutes. Then lift of foil and continue to baker empty shells for 5-6 minutes more until they are completely cooked.

Let cool.  Fill with Lemon Curd, Chocolate, Banana Cream of your favorite filling.

If you are in a hurry and don't have time to make the tart shells or pie crust, then you can just make the lemon curd and put it into pudding bowls or ramekins and serve with fresh whipped cream and fresh raspberries.  This recipe will make 3 cups of filling, which is enough for one traditional pie.  I forgot to count how many 4-inch tarts it filled because I was making a bunch last time and made at least two batches.  When I retest I will edit the recipe.  I'm guessing that if each tart has 3/4 of a cup of filling then one batch should make 4 tarts.  

For the lemon curd:
Lemon zest from 4 lemons
1 cup lemon juice (from 4 to 5 lemons)
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Zest four lemons with a micro-plane or zester.  Set aside in a bowl. Remember to only zest the very outer layer of the lemon and not the white pith underneath. Turn the lemon after each zest. Set zest aside in a bowl.
In a saucepan place the sugar, lemon juice, eggs and pink of salt. Whisk everything together in the bowl before you turn on the heat to be sure that the eggs are fully whisked in with the sugar and lemon juice.
Turn the heat to medium and whisk constantly for six minutes until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter two tablespoons at a time. Add lemon zest and stir in to combine.
Pour into tart shells or into a bowl to cool.


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