3.13.2016

Mini Lemon Tarts {dairy + gluten free} with optional egg free version

Still on my lemon and pie kick from the last post...I've always been intrigued by lemon curd. While I've used the store-bought stuff plenty of times, I really wanted to try making my own. Boy was that a fantastic idea. Have you ever tried homemade lemon curd? It's AH-MAZ-ING. So delicious and much better than the kind you can buy in a can or jar. Like, eat it with a spoon good.

dairy free, gluten free mini lemon tarts from Making it Milk-free


Since today is "Pi Day" (3.14), I decided to use my homemade lemon curd to make these fun little individual lemon pies. While the original idea was to make lemon meringue pies, with an infant on my hip almost every waking moment, I only have so much time for making things from scratch. 

I used my absolute favorite gluten-free, vegan pie crust recipe from my friend Megan over at Allergy Free Alaska. Megan's recipe is so similar to one my great grandmother used (only gluten and dairy free) and it's worked perfectly every time I've made it. It's my go-to crust for any pie where I'm looking for a flaky, delicious crust. 

The lemon curd took most of my time and attention. It uses egg yolks and you don't want to end up with lemon-flavored scrambled eggs, so make sure to keep a very close eye on this step. If you want to make an egg-free version of these tarts, see my notes below for an eggless option!

dairy free, gluten free mini lemon tarts from Making it Milk-free

While I could've made homemade meringue (or tried this super fun aquafaba meringue), I decided to simplify this step and use marshmallow fluff instead. It was a fantastic sweet topping for the tart lemon filling. It browned on top (keep a close eye here too or it'll burn!) and sealed the lemon filling inside the crust. What resulted are these fun little individual pies. So fun!

dairy free, gluten free mini lemon tarts from Making it Milk-free

Mini Lemon Tarts {dairy + gluten free}

Lemon Curd Filling:
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2-4 organic lemons, finely zested and juiced (you'll need 1 Tbsp zest and 1/2 cup juice)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup dairy-free butter substitute (I used Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan butter substitute)
1 recipe gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust (like this one from Allergy Free Alaska)
1 jar marshmallow fluff


To make the filling, add egg yolks and sugar to a saucepan and whisk vigorously until completed combined. Pour in the lemon juice and add the salt. Turn burner on medium-low and stir the mixture constantly while it heats up. Do not allow the mixture to boil or you will have scrambled eggs. (You could do this in a double boiler if you feel more comfortable.) Allow the mixture to cook on medium low until the sugar the mixture becomes smooth and begins to thicken. Once it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat.

Whisk in the lemon zest. Gradually add the dairy-free butter in thirds, stirring each addition until the butter has melted and is completely combined.

Over a medium bowl with a fine mesh strainer on top, pour the mixture through the strainer to remove any lumps or zest for a smooth filling. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming while you prepare the crusts.

To make the crusts, prepare your pie crust recipe according to recipe directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When you have rolled out your crust, use a 4-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles from your crust. Press each circle of crust into the well of a (ungreased) muffin pan, making sure to seal together any cracks that may form in the crusts.

Bake the crusts at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Scoop the warm lemon curd filling evenly into each crust.

For the topping, dip two tablespoons into a cup of cool water and then use the spoons to scoop the marshmallow fluff filling onto the top of each tart. (The water helps release the sticky marshmallow from the spoons and also helps so you can spread the filling to completely cover the top of each tart.)

Place the tarts back in the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to bake and set up. If your topping did not brown lightly during baking, you can turn the broiler on low for just a bit at the very end. Be sure to watch this step constantly as the topping will go from lightly browned to burnt in an instant. Remove tarts from oven when the tops are a light golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Place the pan in the refrigerator to cool completely.

When you are ready to serve, run a small knife around the outside edge of each tart and gently lift them from the pan. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

For an egg-free version: If you want to make an eggless version of these tarts, instead of using homemade lemon curd, you can swap it for the filling from my Lemon Cream Pie recipe. Just double the sugar in that recipe and omit the CocoWhip from the last step. Cool the filling and scoop it into completely baked and cooled pie crusts. Top them with So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip whipped topping before serving.

dairy free, gluten free mini lemon tarts from Making it Milk-free


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