Friday, January 18, 2008

Lemon Macaroon Tarts

Back in the day, I was the bridal shower queen. Never a bridesmaid, but always a shower hostess. I discovered these tarts in a now-defunct publication from Dixie Crystals sugar. Homemade Good News was published monthly and always had lovely, accessible homemade recipes. Try these for a baby or bridal shower, or a special tea for little girls.

Lemon Macaroon Tarts

Yield: 36 miniature tarts

for the shells
4 cups flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites

Toss the coconut with the sugar and flour until well coated. Add the vanilla and the egg whites. Beat on medium high speed setting until well mixed. Press mixtures evenly on bottoms and up the sides of 36 well-greased, miniature muffin cups (sprayed first with nonstick spray). The mixture will be sticky, but manageable. You may dampen your fingertips to make the job easier.

Bake on the lower rack of a preheated 400 oven about 15 minutes or until edges are nicely browned. Shells will not appear done in their centers. Cool shells in their tins 2 to 3 minutes, then immediately loosen with a sharp knife and remove to a rack to cool before filling.

Shells can be prepared and baked in advance and held in the fridge several days or frozen up to 1 month. Thaw or allow shells to come to room temp before filling.

lemon filling

2 1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp unsalted butter
whipped cream, for serving
lemon zest strips, for serving

Whisk the sugar with the cornstarch and lemon zest in a saucepan, until well mixed, then gradually whisk in the cold water and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat.

Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl until smooth, then gradually whisk about 1/4 of the hot lemon mixture into the eggs. Whisk constantly to keep the mixture smooth. Add the warmed egg mixture slowly back to the saucepan with the remaining hot lemon mixture, still whisking constantly.

Cook mixture, whisking constantly, still over medium heat, until thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in the unsalted butter. Cool, then cover and chill thoroughly. Mixture can be held in the fridge for up to a week.

To serve, fill macaroon tart shells and garnish with whipped cream and lemon zest.

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