Lemon Curd & Salted Ganache Tartlets

These mini tarts are easy to make.  You just need a little patience to make lots of them.  This post also comes courtesy of last week’s baking extravaganza and is still on theme … bold flavours for these tarts because they are tiny and it’s great to have little mouthfuls that pack a wallop of flavour.   No?  Yes?  Yesss.  Plus you get two recipes in one!  I took the photo of the finished tarts before the fillings were fully set so they are still extra shiny.  The ganache will have a slightly smoother matte finish as it sets completely.

The salted ganache filling is extremely rich and smooth with a salty tang that really intensifies the chocolate flavour.  For the salt, I used pink Himalayan rock salt.  It was amazing with the ganache.  I just got it last week so was going a bit nuts with it.  Any good quality sea salt would be fabulous.  I also used Meander Valley double cream which has 56% milk fat.  Technically, that’s almost triple cream!  The ganache was velvety though so worth it.  I finished off my stash of Valrhona Gran Couva with these tarts too.  The lemon curd filling is also not too sweet and has a puckery lemon tang.  I was lucky enough to get a bag of fresh Meyer lemons from my aunt’s tree so I used those.  Lots of juice and fragrant zest.

You will need roughly 30 fluted tart moulds that are about 5 cm in diameter.

The lemon curd could be made a day ahead and kept, tightly covered in the refrigerator, until you fill the tarts.  Alternatively, both the curd and ganache fillings could be made before making the pastry or as the pastry chills before baking.   The quantities for each filling are enough for about 15 tartlets.  If you have any leftover, the curd will keep, refrigerated, for a couple of weeks.  It’s fantastic on toast, muffins, or pancakes.  In fact, this is a great curd recipe to make and use anytime.  The ganache will also keep for a few days.  When thickened and set, it can also be used to make truffles.  If you make truffles, do not refrigerate them unless the weather is very warm or humid.  Instead, store airtight in a cool, dry place at or below 17°C.  They keep extremely well and the flavour is awesome.  Refrigeration usually leads to humidity and condensation which isn’t great for truffles.  There is another option of course – I just ate the small amount of leftover ganache I had 🙂

Makes: about 30 tartlets

Small sugar flowers for decoration

Pasta Frolla
265 grams plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
185 grams unsalted butter, chilled
75 grams castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Lemon Curd
4 large egg yolks
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice (strained)
145 grams sugar
150 grams unsalted butter, cubed

Salted Ganache
150 grams chocolate couverture (min. 68% cocoa solids)
1/4 teaspoon (scant) rock salt
200 grams double cream (min. 45% butterfat)

For the pasta frolla:
Pre heat the oven to 190°C/375°F.

Make the pasta frolla dough as per the instructions in Torta di Ricotta Siciliana, up until the point where you are ready to roll out the dough.  You could roll out the dough in one large sheet to line the tartlet moulds, but I find it’s easier to roll them out separately.  It is easier then to make sure that each shell is properly and evenly lined.  Don’t worry if the dough tears, it’s very forgiving, and is easily patched.

Cut the dough into 10 equal pieces, then each of those into 3 pieces.  Place the first piece of pastry dough on to a clean surface sprinkled liberally with flour.  Flatten the pastry slightly and roll it out to a circle a little larger than the tartlet moulds, about 7 cm in diameter.

Press the pastry into the tartlet mould, patching if there are any tears.  Roll the rolling-pin over the top of the mould to remove any excess pastry.  Repeat with the remaining pastry.  If the weather is warm, you can cover the pieces with cling film and store in the refrigerator as you go to prevent the dough from heating.  When completed, cover and chill in the freezer for 30 mins or in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

When ready to bake, prick the base of  the pastry shells with a fork.  Bake the shells for about 15 – 18 minutes, or until light golden.  When ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  When cooled, gently remove the pastry shells from the moulds.  They are now ready for filling.

Make the Lemon Curd:
Place the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice into a saucepan and mix well.  Stir the mixture over a low to medium heat, until it starts to thicken.  Don’t let the mixture boil.  Reduce the heat if necessary.  When thickened so it coats the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.  It should take about 6 – 8 minutes. Gradually whisk in the butter in three or four batches until the mixture is smooth and shiny, as shown below.  Pour into a bowl.  Cover with a layer of cling film on the surface of the lemon curd and refrigerate until required.

Make the Salted Ganache:
Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place into a bowl with the salt, as shown.  This ensures that the chocolate melts evenly and quickly.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, over a low heat, until it just starts to bubble around the edges and reaches a boil.  Remove from the heat immediately and pour evenly over the chopped chocolate.  Allow to sit for about 30 seconds and then slowly stir the ganache until the chocolate melts completely and the ganache is smooth.  Don’t be tempted to whisk it as this will introduce air bubbles into the ganache which will spoil the look of the tarts as the ganache sets.  Allow to cool slightly, and cover the bowl with cling film.  Set aside to cool and thicken until ready to use, about one to two hours.  Do not refrigerate.

Assemble the tartlets:
Before filling the tart shells, stir each of the fillings as they will have thickened as they cooled and partly set.  Fill half the tartlet shells with the lemon curd and the remaining half with the salted ganache filling.   Place the tartlets on to a serving dish or tray.  Decorate each one with a sugar flower, as I’ve done.  (They are also pretty if you sprinkle some crushed pistachios around the rim of the ganache tarts and decorate the lemon curd tarts with some candied lemon zest strips).

Serve immediately or keep at room temperature for up to an hour before serving.  If making ahead, you can cover the tartlets and store in the refrigerator but remove at least 30 minutes before serving to allow them to come back to room temperature.  They are best eaten the day they are made, at room temperature.  However, they will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for about 3 – 4 days.  I topped leftovers with berries for a quick dessert the next day.  Whawrr….

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