Lemon Tarts for the Shearer

We're getting our little flock shorn today.  Perfect timing, 6 weeks out from lambing, the weather is getting warmer and these girls (and boy) need a hair cut!

The girls are calm and not fazed by the process, this is the result of spending a lot of time with our sheep, they just take it in their stride. Noel gently walks them into the pens, asking them politely - please keep moving.

Mash, our ram, is also going to get a haircut today.  He is a little harder to handle, and he's a monster!  But geez he's handsome!

While Sue, the shearer, gets started I head back to the kitchen to knock out some lemon tarts for her.....oh, and Noel!   

I've got these gorgeous little vintage Willow Australia tins that I haven't had a chance to bake in yet.  Give them a good clean and they'll be right to go.

I found this recipe in the Australian Country Magazine's Field to Feast Recipe Book, it's full of great seasonal ideas and menu plans. I've made a couple of very small tweaks to it, but this is pretty good and with a darn nice pastry!

Recipe - Pastry

1 1/2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
110g unsalted butter
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

Sift together the flour and salt, set aside.  Process the butter in a food processor until softened.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  With the food processor still running, gradually add the egg, beating until just combined.  Add the flour and salt all at once, and then pulse until the pastry comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc.  With slightly wet hands I shaped the pastry into a disc. I just felt that my pastry was a little crumbly but didn't want to 'add' water, so using wet hands was just enough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and line your tins....at this point I used odd sized tins, but the recipe calls for six 10cm diameter flan tins with removable bases.  These vintage tins don't have a removable base, but the cooked tarts slipped out perfectly.

Use a fork to prick the bases.  Place on a baking tray, cover and pop in the refrigerator for 20 mins.  Preheat oven to 180c.  Line each tart case with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice and blind bake for 15 mins.  Remove paper and beans and bake for a further 5 mins or until pastry is golden.

Recipe - Lemon Filling

3 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
Grated rind & juice of 1 lemon
100ml pouring cream

Combine the eggs and castor sugar and beat until smooth and well combined.  Add the lemon rind and juice and mix and then beat in the cream.  Pour mixture into pastry cases and bake at 150c for about 25mins or until filling is just set.

Recipe - Candied Lemons

1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup water
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Place sugar and water in shallow pan, over low heat.  Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a simmer.  Add the lemon slices and gently cook for 15 - 20 mins or until candied.  Serve tarts topped with candied lemon slices with cream or ice cream.  I oven baked a few extra lemon slices with drizzles of the sugary water over them.  I wanted them to be a little more dark and crunchy.

Finished, I head back out to the paddock.  With a hot cup of tea in hand and a couple of lemon tarts for the workers!

This is Sue's dog Pi, just keeping an eye on things while Mum works.

With the filling still warm and the candied lemon eaten first, I got thumbs up from Sue.

Have a great Sunday friends x Julie