Sunday, May 1, 2011

When life gives you runny sugar cookies...make lemon tarts!

So I have been on a bit of a lemon kick lately...

The "It's so good I dream about it" Lemon Pound Cake
With Glaze
Lemon meringue cake for Easter dinner (up in the upper right hand corner)
And lastly, lemon sugar cookie tarts, made in princess cupcake liners

With all that lemon going on some deliciousness has definitely been had, as well as some requests for recipes.

So, first off, for the "It's so good I dream about it" lemon pound cake.  I got the recipe from Art of Gluten Free Baking and then of course made it my own...

I have found that baking by weight has made my baking more consistent, so I used 130g brown rice flour, 130g rice flour, 80g tapioca flour, and 135g sweet rice flour, instead of the measurements listed.  What is nice about this is that all you gluten lovers out there should be able to make this cake with 475g of all purpose flour.  I followed the rest of the recipe as described (so I won't retype it here) and then added a lemon glaze.

Lemon glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
Juice of one lemon
Distructions (as M likes to say): mix the butter into the powdered sugar and a crumbly paste will form, then add the lemon juice, followed by capfuls of milk until a nice pourable consistency is achieved.  Pour over cooled cake.  I keep my cake on the cooling rack when I pour on the glaze and set a cookie sheet below the rack to catch the excess glaze.

sidebar: the cake is a large recipe and while it all "fits" into my bundt pan (read, it hasn't made my oven a complete disaster because I put my bundt pan on a cookie sheet), next time I would make a mini loaf or two with some of the batter to prevent the spill over.  It also unmolds quite nicely when you follow the directions and butter and flour your pan.

For the Lemon Meringue Cake, I got that right out of Nigella Lawson's book Feast.  And, as most of her desserts are, it is a work of pure genius.  So get the book, your friends will thank you.

Now, for the Lemon tarts...
I followed the directions for Cooks Illustrated's "The Best Sugar Cookie" which they have printed in their The New Best Recipe cookbook as well as their Holiday Baking 2007 special edition.  It is a great sugar cookie recipe, but when I threw them in the oven this time they turned into one big sheet of cookies.  I have some suspicions why, but sometimes a little disaster turns into the necessity for delicious invention...

I took the remaining dough and made mini tarts...

Just in case you forgot what they looked like

I followed the directions for the cookies, even rolled the 1 1/2" ball in sugar and then pressed each ball into the bottom of a muffin tin, lined with princess liners (very important).  I baked these in the oven at 375F for 11 minutes and then topped them with lemon curd and popped them back in for 5 more minutes.  This really could be done with any jam you desire, but lemon curd is pretty fantastic and easy to make:

Lemon Curd (From Bon Appetit 2004)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (in reality I just zest the lemons before I juice them and then use all the zest from the juiced lemons in the curd)
3 large eggs
Now for the easy part: put the sugar, lemon juice, zest and butter into the microwave.  Cook on high until the butter melts, whisking every minute or so.  Beat the eggs in a bowl, whisk in half of the lemon mixture into the eggs and then whisk the eggs and lemon mixture back into the rest of the lemon mixture.  (you do this so you don't cook the eggs too fast).  Put back in the microwave and cook on high, whisking every minute until the curd is slightly thickened, but not boiling.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.  Transfer it to a container, top with plastic wrap to avoid forming a skin on top and stick it into the fridge. 

It is quite nice on the Lemon Meringue Cake, mixed into yogurt and on top of sugar cookies!