Starr Ranch had a winetasting during the Paso Wine Harvest Festival last weekend, and served these tartlet squares paired with their Starr Ranch Viognier (that stuff is delicious — a nose like the meringue on lemon meringue pie, plus apricot and baked pear). Anyway, this is a quick 1-bowl recipe; very easy and tasty, and lends itself well to a double batch.
- For Original Crust (thinner, denser, butterier):
- 1 stick (1/2 c) butter, sliced into strips and piled loosely in a Pyrex bowl
- 1c flour
- 1/4 c powdered sugar
- For Shortbread Crust (thick, biscuity, also buttery)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 to 1 1/2 c slivered almonds, whirled in food processor until mealy
- Custard layer (same no matter which crust you choose):
- juice of 1 Meyer lemon (about 4 Tbsp)
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon (about 2-4 tsp)
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 c sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the butter in in the bowl and melt it in the microwave. Thoroughly mix in the dry ingredients for the crust, and press into a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
While the oven preheats, zest and juice the lemons into the same bowl you used for the flour mix. Add the eggs and sugar, and mix. When the crust is in the oven, set the timer to 12 to 20 minutes. Add the baking powder and flour to the egg/lemon mix and mix thoroughly, then set aside while the crust cooks.
When the crust is just barely blushed on the edges (NOT toasted — remember, it will get more oven time in a minute!), remove from the oven. Briefly mix up the lemon mix again so that the settled sugar isn’t stuck on the bottom, and pour the whole schamole over the crust. Return the whole thing to the oven and cook again for another 17-20 minutes, until the top has set and appears to be firm but not dried out.
Chill 10 min to several hours, sprinkle with more powdered sugar (you can put a tablespoonful at a time into a wire-mesh sieve and sprinkle it that way). Cut into 1″ squares and serve chilled. Store in an airtight container in the fridge; should keep about a week.
The winery owner says the original recipe calls for just 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp grated lemon peel, but she instead uses one whole Meyer lemon per recipe (all the zest and all the juice), which comes out to about double the lemon of the 2T/2t version). If you do not have Meyer lemon, you can use the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon combined with the zest and juice of 1/3 to 1/2 a medium orange (1/2 is better). The shortbread crust is adapted fromthe Chocolatey Raspberry Crumble Bars.