The Sweets Course

Lemon Curd Tartlets Topped with Fruit

For the Lemon Curd:
4 lemons
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ cups butter
4 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt

Using a microplane, zest the lemons. Then juice the lemons.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the lemon juice, zest and salt and mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a non-reactive 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring the whole time. The curd will be ready when it registers 175º on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and cool.

For the Tart Dough:
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons heavy cream

With a mixer, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar on low for about two minutes. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add half the flour and mix on low just until it is incorporated. Add remaining flour along with the salt and cream and mix just until combined. Shape dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To Assemble:

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls (adjust amount based on the size of your molds.). Using your fingers, press the balls evenly into the tartlet pans. OR if you use round molds, you can roll out the dough, cut it with a knife and fit into the molds. Using a fork, dock the bottoms of the tarts. Place the tartlet shells on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º. Bake the tartlet shells on the cookie sheet until light golden brown about 10-12 minutes depending on size. Cool and remove from pans.

Fill the shells with lemon curd, leaving room for the fruit on top. Arrange fruit such as peach slices, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes on top of the curd. To give the fruit a shiny glaze, heat apricot preserves until liquid and brush that on top of the fruit.

Mini Chocolate Birthday Cakes

½ cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup boiling water
½ cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray 12 mini fluted cake molds (or cupcake molds) with Pam Baking Spray. Combine cocoa, baking soda and boiling water in a bowl; stir well to blend and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, with mixer on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.

Add flour alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition, on low speed. Blend in cocoa mixture. Spoon batter into cake molds.

Bake 35 minutes or until done. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate with orange, yellow and green sprinkles.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Beat 1 (3-ounce) pkg. cream cheese in mixing bowl at medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 5 tablespoons milk. Blend in 2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled. Gradually add 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar and a dash of salt; beat until smooth on low speed.

Coconut Drops

7 ounces sweetened coconut
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375º. Pulse the coconut in a food processor about a dozen times to make the shreds finer. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt in bowl and set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl, cream on medium speed for about half a minute, then beat in the vanilla, then the egg. Beat until smooth again. Lower the speed and beat in the flour mixture, then the coconut. Drop teaspoonfuls of the batter onto cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

When cool, dip the bottom of each cookie into melted white or dark chocolate. Drizzle more of the chocolate over the tops of the cookies.