Friday, March 25, 2011

Dinner party for six...or two

If you're like me, after you made those chocolate chip cupcakes from last week, you were left with 4 egg yolks sitting in a tupperware, in the refrigerator, for days, thinking "What ever will I do with just 4 egg yolks?" And if you're like me even more, you immediately thought "make lemon curd!" (Obviously)

Surprisingly, I thought all lemon curds were made solely with egg yolks. But the more I researched, I found that lots of recipes call for whole eggs, not just the yolks.  I ended up doing a makeshift recipe of my own, because I didn't understand why all of them called for so much sugar and butter.  I also don't have any fresh lemons on hand, so I ended up using bottled lemon juice and some extract.

I convinced myself earlier this week that I needed to stop baking so much and replace that time with running more, but alas, Texas heat is already in full swing and I don't want to get burned running out in the  peak sun time.  Hence, I bake cook make lemon curd.

Then it occurred to cute would it be to make mini-lemon tartlets?! But I wanted graham cracker crust because that was easier and didn't require turning on the oven.   And then I thought, how cute would it be to make mini-lemon curd tartlets with meringue topping?!  Genius.

So there you have it folks.  A graham cracker crust with homemade lemon curd and a cute meringue topping.

I pretty much made these recipes up as I went along and thankfully they all turned out okay.  Perfect for a tasty after supper treat for a dinner party, and tonight, that will include me and the hubs. (And the dogs...but they don't get one)

Mini-Lemon Meringue Tartlets*

Lemon curd:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (heaping)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsp butter

In a medium saucepan, heat an inch of water to boiling then bring down to simmer.  In a metal or glass bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until completely combined.  Whisk in lemon juice and extract. Place bowl over simmering water.  Continue to stir for 7-10 minutes until mixture begins to thickens and coats the back of the spoon.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 tbsp of butter and whisk until completely melted. Add 2nd tbsp of butter and whisk until melted and combined.  Place piece of saran wrap over bowl and allow to cool.  Refrigerate.

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar

Melt butter.  Add crumbs and sugar and mix until combined.  Line cupcake tin with 6 cupcake liners.  Distribute crust mixture into each of the liners and press down firmly.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2 egg whites
4 tbsp sugar

With stand or hand mixer, whip egg whites until they become white and frothy.  Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue to whip until bright white and makes stiff peaks.  Refrigerate.

Remove crust from cupcake wrappers carefully and put on plate.  Add dollop of lemon curd and spread evenly.  With a piping bag (or ziploc) and tip (or cut a hole in ziploc), pipe on meringue to each individually.  Place under broiler for 1 minute or until meringue is light brown.

*apparently there are two ways to spell tartlet/tartellette.  Spell it how you please. :)
**I already had 4 egg yolks in the fridge and so only used two egg whites.  If you are starting from scratch, you can double the amount of meringue you make and then maybe make those little meringue cookies.  Or make the chocolate chip cupcakes.

You won't use all of the lemon curd for these, only about 1/4-1/2.  So safe the rest and eat if on some yummy scones or toast....or by itself?

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