Pure assumption, but let’s say you made some lemon curd (should I dare thinking you were inspired by our previous post?). Maybe you even made too much of it, and, again — pure assumption — you really don’t know what do with this big jar sitting in your fridge. (I would definitely know what to do with it; just give me a spoon!) Well, we have a solution for you: Make lemon tarts, but not just any kind of lemon tarts. For one thing, don’t expect any meringue.
Beneath their low-key profile, these tartelettes hide a little surprise: an intense layer of chocolate ganache. It’s not an easy combination to pull off, as lemon and chocolate are an unusual pair, but the result is sublime.
As Em and I were trying to picture the outcome, we could already imagine ourselves diving into layers of zingy lemon curd and robust chocolate ganache. But we wanted to make it even more special and decided to add some ginger to the ganache. With its zesty taste, ginger is a harmonious match for the lemon.
I have to be honest with you: I bought unsweetened chocolate and forgot to taste the ganache before spreading it over the tartelettes. When I finally tried it, I was surprised by how bitter it was. Good, rich and velvety but bitter. Em was surprised too, but very politely did not make any comment. I worried. Would it ruin our tartelettes? Should we try to remove the chocolate ganache from the shells? We decided to keep the chocolate, and it turned out amazingly. The lemon curd and the shortbread crust being so sweet, the bitter ganache creates a delicious contrast, enhancing all the other flavors. I would not change it now. I would actually advise you to use unsweetened chocolate as well.
The uncrystallized candied ginger we bought (from Trader Joe’s) was not as strong as we were expecting. As it turns out, the package calls this ginger “sweet and smooth”. Next time we’ll try their other sort (“sweet and spicey”), or just buy some at an Asian supermarket.
Finally, we decided to use candied lemon slices to decorate the tartelettes. Citrus fruits can be candied whole (apart from their seeds), and the candied slices make beautiful garnish for desserts and cocktails. Besides, they’re very easy to make. But they do take about 12 hours to dry completely, so I would recommend making them ahead of time.
One thing is sure: These tartelettes were a hit! The flavors melted together wonderfully. And what better way to brighten your day than by having a bite of this sunny treat?
Meyer lemon chocolate tartelettes
Yields 6 4-3/4 inch tartelettes
For the shortbread crust
- ½ lb (225 g) pre-sifted flour
- 5 oz (140 g) icing sugar
- 1 oz (30 g) ground almonds
- 4 oz (110 g) unsalted butter, softened and diced
- 1 medium sized egg
For the chocolate ganache
- 4 oz (115 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup (15 cl) heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 30 g candied ginger finely chopped
- 8 oz lemon curd
- Candied lemon slices
For the crust
In a bowl, mix together the flour, icing sugar and ground almonds. Add the diced butter to the bowl and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour mixture until it looks like sand. Add the egg and knead until the ingredients come together to form a soft, moist dough. Be careful not to overdo it. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can make the dough a day ahead of time and keep it covered and chilled.
Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 6 equal parts. Take one part and roll it on a slightly floured work surface. Work quickly so that the dough stays manageable and does not soften too much. Roll and wrap the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the tartelette pan, being careful not to stretch it. Gently press the dough into the pan. Run rolling pin over the top the of pan to remove the excess dough, and pierce the shell with a fork in several places. Repeat with the other pieces of dough and place all the pans in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 380°F. Line the chilled shells with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the shells are lightly colored. Let the tartelette pans cool for 15 minutes and unmold. You can make the shells up to two days ahead of time and store them covered and chilled.
For the ganache
While the tartelette crusts are cooking, make the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of cream and reserve.
Pour the rest of the cream into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate, let sit for 30 seconds and, using a whisk, gently stir to blend the preparation. Let cool for another minute and add the egg mixture, the butter and the candied ginger. Mix well until the mixture is smooth.
Spread the ganache into a thin layer over the pie crust and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Spoon the lemon curd on top of the chocolate, filling each shell to the top. Smooth with a rubber spatula and refrigerate for at least an hour (a good couple of hours allows for a firmer consistency).
Before serving, garnish with slices of candied lemon or (and!) some whipped cream.
And because I’m feeling generous, here is the recipe for those candied lemon slices.
Candied lemon slices
- 1 Meyer or regular lemon, finely sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and, separately, prepare a bath of water with ice cubes in a large baking dish.
Blanch the lemon slices in the boiling water for a couple of minutes, to soften the skin. Gently drain them and plunge into the ice bath.
Mix the 2 cups of sugar and the cup of water in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and add the lemon slices, making sure they don’t overlap.
Let the lemon slices simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the slices from the syrup and let them dry on a cooling rack over a pile of paper towels for about 12 hours. Keep in an airtight container. You can keep the syrup for further candying or for use in dressings.