Tuesday night, at approximately 11:45pm, I scowled at my clock and made a decision. No how, no way was I going to school the following day. It was already two hours past my bedtime, I was wide awake and had no interest in dragging myself to school with no sleep the following day.
I toyed instead with the idea of an afternoon pedicure. I flirted with the thought of going to the Ferry Building and spending the day sampling every single cheese at Cowgirl Creamery. I even pondered **oh horrors** exercise. But none of it fit. Or rather, I was too tired to think what would fit.
That is until early the next morning, after brief fitful bouts of sleep. I realized it had been an entire 168 hours since my last visit to the mighty magical Meyer lemon tree. Gasping in disbelief, finding a tiny reserve of energy inside of my coffee mug, I trudged outside in my robe and began filling my pockets, yet again, with my treasures. This time though, it wasn't such a bounty. Seems I pillaged that poor tree on my last visit and the new crop is just now crossing over from green to a very pale green. It seems I was a tad overzealous.
This troubled me somewhat until I discovered most recipes only call for one or two lemons, so I was in no way hindered in my creative pursuits. In fact, it was most likely for the best as I'm not sure I can consume more than three Meyer lemon dishes in one day. Fortunately, I was only required to consume one. Fortunately, it was amazing.
Due to a severe shortage (read: lack) of tart pans in our house I opted instead for a muffin tin, hoping to create individual lemon tarts. What I didn't forsee was the boiling over of the lemon filling while baking. We can thank the gods of happy accidents for this one, because the results were nothing short of inspired.
No, I would not call these tarts. I will call these tart lemon demitasses. Each little demitasse is lined with a thick layer of lemon. The center is open and can be filled, as I did, with berries. If I were not so very very sleepy though and if there were not a severe shortage (read: lack) of ice cream makers in this house I would whip up some creme fraiche ice cream. I would pile that into each cup and sprinkle them generously with berries.
Tart Lemon Demitasses
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets via Smitten Kitchen
1 recipe my very favorite uber-duper flakey pie crust
1 1/2 average-sized Meyer lemons (about 4 1/2 oz each), rinsed and dried
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven 325°F.
Prepare pie crust. Cut into 4" x 4" squares. Line each muffin tin with the pastry squares. Set in the fridge to chill for 30 mins.
Bake the pastry shells for 15 mins with weights in the bottom to keep them from puffing up. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Slice the lemons into thin wedges, remove the seeds, and toss the lemon and sugar into the container of a blender. Blend, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is thoroughly pureed and blended with the sugar. Blend in the whole egg and the yolk, followed by the cornstarch and melted butter. Pour the filling into the crust shells, filling them 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Brush egg white or water around the exposed edges of the pastry. Sprinkle with turbinado, or some other large grain sugar.
Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake the tart for 20 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling, lightly browned and set. Don’t take the tart out until it is clearly set, however — you’re looking for a slight jiggliness with no suggestion of liquid underneath. DO not be alarmed if it boils over. Just make sure it does not burn. Transfer the demitasses, still in the muffin tins, to a cooling rack and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. The demitasses are ready to be served when they reach room temperature.