Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lemon Curd Shortbread Tartlets

Lemons. Funny that something so mouth puckering is also the thing that holds smiles and memories. Childhood lemonade stands. Adult lemonade and vodkas. Summertime lemon meringue pie. Late night lemon chicken takeout. Even just the smell of lemons is refreshing. And, seriously, what's better than watching a toddler's first bite of a lemon!

These little bites of happiness won't make you pucker quite like those adorable toddlers but they will satisfy your intense desire for a zingy-tangy-sweet dessert. The shortbread base brings it all together in a finger food style dessert. And really, any sweet treat that you can eat with your hands is already on its way to being a winner in my book!

Lemon Curd Shortbread Tartlets

Lemon Curd (adapted from Fine Cooking)


3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter for a minute.
  2. Add the white sugar and beat for another two minutes until smooth.
  3. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for one minute more.
  4. Add the lemon juice and mix. Note: The mixture will look ridiculously curdled, but as you cook it, it will all come together!
  5. In a medium saucepan, cook the lemon mixture over low heat. As the mixture heats up and the butter melts you’ll see the mixture smooth and lost its curdled appearance.
  6. Turn up the heat to medium.
  7. Stir! Stir! Stir! And stir a bit more until the lemon curd starts to thicken and reaches 170 degrees F. You do not want to bring it to a boil!
  8. Remove the curd from the heat; add in the lemon zest.
  9. Place the curd in a bowl and press plastic wrap on the surface of it. Cool in the fridge. It will continue to thicken as it cools. It should last about a week.

Shortbread Cookie Cups


1 cup  salted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' or icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla powder (if available otherwise omit)
2 cups all purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly spray or grease 24 mini cupcake pan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and beat for an additional minute.
  4. Add the vanillas and mix in.
  5. Carefully beat in the flour until it comes together in a smooth ball.
  6. Place a generous tablespoon or so of dough into each mini muffin tin. Using your fingers, mold the dough into a cup ensuring it goes up the side of the tin.
  7. Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape, and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes.
  8. Bake the shortbread until it's a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 15- 20 minutes.
  9. Remove it from the oven. You’ll notice that the shortbread doesn’t look like a cup! So using a spoon or a mini cookie dough scooper, press into the dough to make a cup shape.
  10. Cool completely.


  1. Carefully remove the shortbread cups from the pan and place on flat surface.
  2. Add a heaping tablespoon of lemon curd to each cookie cup.
  3. If desired, use a sieve to sprinkle a little bit of icing sugar over the lemon curd shortbread cup just before serving.
See how they are all puffed up? We have to make them look more like a cup to hold the curd.
Use a cookie scoop or spoon to press down on the baked tartlets to make a large indentation.
Heat but do not boil. The initial mixture will look a bit curdled
but it all comes together with a little heat.
Pour into a container and stir in the zest.
The mixture will thicken like this.
Remove the cups and place on serving platter.
Add a tablespoon or so of lemon curd.
Repeat until all cups are filled.
Just before serving dust with icing sugar.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Easy Strawberry Vanilla Freezer Jam
Don't fill your jars this high! Leave about an inch of space at the top of your jars.

Strawberry season is here in British Columbia! I haven't been to a u-pick strawberry field in years but would love to take the kids to one this year...I think it should be a rite of passage for every child :) And then, of course, I'd put them to work making freezer jam! As I've said before I prefer freezer jam over traditional jam making because the boiling, sealing etc etc scares me ... though I have friends that insist it's not that hard. I'm sure they're right but freezer jam is sooooo easy - crush, mix, pour, repeat! And it take less than 45 minutes to finish the whole process.

Last weekend we made this strawberry vanilla freezer jam but I could have just as easily called it strawberry lemon freezer jam. The vanilla isn't really discernible but it does add an almost secret layer of flavour to the strawberries. The lemon zest on the other-hand is absolutely noticeable! The combination of strawberries and citrus is perfect and makes for jam that tastes incredibly fresh, light and flavourful. My son said this is the best jam he's ever had and asked if he could skip the toast and just drink the jam! Yes, it's that good.


4 c strawberries, crushed (pulse in a food processor)
1-1/2 c sugar
1 package (45 g) freezer pectin
zest of 1 large lemon (2-3 tsp)
1 tsp pure vanilla

What to do

  1. Stir sugar, zest and pectin in a large bowl.
  2. Add crushed strawberries and vanilla.
  3. Stir for 3 minutes.
  4. Spoon into 5 250ml preserving jars stopping about an inch from the top of the jar.
  5. Wipe clean and add lid and ring. Close tightly.
  6. Let sit for 30 minutes so it thickens.

Refrigerate - will last up to 3 weeks otherwise freeze for longer storage.

Try these other easy freezer jams!