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Lemon Bakewell Tarts

The classic British Bakewell Tart is a pastry shell spread with raspberry jam and layered with an almond, frangipani-type topping.  This recipe replaces the raspberry jam with either Meyer Lemon Marmalade or Meyer Lemon Curd.  Having done both versions, and after a bit too much taste-testing (!), we agree that using the marmalade adds a deeper lemon flavor, but both are delicious.

We decided as we were putting these together to use zest from regular lemons even though we were using Meyer Lemon Marmalade and/or Curd to line the shells — it seemed profligate to use precious Meyer Lemons when only zest was required. These lovely little tarts would be elegant for tea, but may also provide a light finish to an evening meal, and the bonus is they can be made ahead. We served the first sweet, luscious strawberries of the season with our tarts and each set off the other to perfection!

Lemon Bakewell Tarts

For the sweet pastry

3 oz. butter, at room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
2 oz. confectioner’s sugar (½ cup)
1 egg yolk
7 oz. all purpose flour (1½ cups)

For the filling

zest of 2 lemons
4 oz. butter, at room temperature
4 oz. sugar (generous ½ cup)
2 large eggs
3 oz. ground almonds (¾ cup)
1 oz. all purpose flour (scant ¼ cup)
6 tbs. Meyer lemon marmalade or Meyer lemon curd
1 oz. flaked almonds
Confectioner’s sugar or dusting

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Make the pastry by placing the butter and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until soft. Add the confectioner’s sugar and blitz again until light and creamy. Mix in the egg yolk along with 1 tbs. water, then add in the flour until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface, bring the pastry together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and flatten slightly to form a disc. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry and use to line six 10 x 2cm tins (4″ wide x 3/4″ high) and trim off any excess. Set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.

To make the filling, beat together the lemon zest, butter, and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, including a spoonful of the ground almonds with each addition. When both eggs have been added, mix in the remaining ground almonds and the flour.

Spread the marmalade or lemon curd over the bases of the tart shells. Spoon over the filling and smooth with a spatula. The tarts will be full to the top. Scatter over the almonds and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let the tarts cool slightly then remove from the tins. Serve warm or cool, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

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