What seems to be a million years ago, my parents occasionally treated the whole family to delicate pastries after long Sunday afternoon walks in the wilderness that is the Lake Geneva waterfront. (It’s really not quite as posh and fancy as it might sound, when you live there. Except for the pastries.)
Caraques, Mille-Feuilles and Tartelettes au Citron were usually our top picks.
The first vegan version I made of the tartlets was apparently a bit too tart for a few of the whole grain cookbook testers, so I reduced the amount of lemon juice in the curd and everyone’s happy again.
I personally still prefer using the full cup of juice, instead of diluting it with 1/3 cup water. Maybe my lemons are weaker than most, or I really do love me some tart stuff.
Since the tartness of lemons and personal taste vary, try it once as written, and if it’s not tart enough for you, up the juice while nixing the same amount of water until you get the tartness of your dreams.
I’ve made different variations of it (see them below the recipe), and now there’s not an inch of fridge storage that doesn’t have a jar of curd on it.
Good thing I have a hazelnut shortbread fingers recipe coming up shortly in case it happens to your fridge, too.
Tartelettes au Citron:
For the crust:
3/4 cup (90 g) whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup (35 g) raw cashews
Pinch fine sea salt
2 tablespoons (42 g) raw agave nectar or (30 ml) pure maple syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons (28 to 42 g) coconut oil, melted
Nonstick cooking spray
For the curd:
2/3 cup (160 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (110 ml) water, divided
1/2 cup (70 g) raw cashews (if your blender isn’t very efficient, cover these with water and soak for 6 hours in the fridge, draining and rinsing before use)
2/3 cup (222 g) raw agave nectar or (160 ml) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
Fresh raspberries to decorate, optional
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C or gas mark 3). Lightly coat six 3-inch (8-cm) Fluted French Tart Quiche Pans with spray.
Combine flour, cashews and salt in a food processor. Process until the cashews are finely ground. Add the agave nectar and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil at first, pulsing to combine. Add the extra tablespoon (15 ml) of oil if the dough does not hold together when pinched.
Knead a few times and divide into 6 equal portions. Press down each portion in each prepared pan. Use the tines of a fork to lightly prick each crust bottom.
Bake 12 minutes, turn off the oven, and leave the crusts in the oven for 6 more minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, carefully pop the crusts out of the pans, and let the crusts further cool on the rack.
To make the curd: Combine the juice, 1/3 cup (80 ml) water, cashews, and agave in a blender. Blend until perfectly smooth. If your blender is not efficient enough to obtain perfect smoothness, use a fine mesh sieve to sift any tiny pieces of cashews. Place this preparation in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water in a small bowl to create a slurry. Lower the heat of the lemon mixture, add the cornstarch slurry in it while stirring constantly, and cook on medium heat until thickened a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, still stirring, add the optional zest, and let cool.
Once the crusts are cool and the curd too, fill each crust with curd. Place a few raspberries on each tartlet, to decorate. Chill the tartlets for a couple of hours before eating them. If you won’t eat all the tartlets the day you make them, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They are best enjoyed within a day of preparation. There will be a little curd left over, which should also be stored in the fridge.
Yield: 6 tartlets
• Use 1/3 cup of the refrigerated kind of coconut milk instead of 1/3 cup water, for creamier results.
• For a lime version, simply replace the lemon juice with lime juice. FYI, I used good-quality bottled lime juice instead of juicing actual limes, because I’m the world’s unluckiest lime shopper. All the ones I buy are always Sahara-dry.
• For a raspberry-lemon (or raspberry-lime) version, simply add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) berries to the recipe before blending.
• For an orange version, simply use 2/3 cup fresh orange juice (blood orange juice would be great too), and combine with 1/3 cup lemon or lime juice.